Now that Euros has finished and we’ve had time to marinate in everything we saw, Stoi! is taking some time to consider the implications. There was good, there was bad and there was undecided. Here, we look at those whose stars appeared to be in the ascendancy.
1. Pride of place must go to Romania. Three months before the Olympics, they’ve effectively swept Euros. We’ll forget about bars, since that’s what they’ve been doing since the mid 90’s. Every single one of them did her job. Even Haidu justified her selection.
Larisa Iordache has solidified her place as the teams new star, and a leading contender for the All-Around crown in London. It’s particularly positive that their gold medals were spread around the team, too. Ponor, Izbasa and Iordache are quite the triple threat, and it’s a possibility that each will repeat her title in London. Romanians have a habit of winning European titles in Olympic year and then going on to bag the big one too. It would only take an injury to Maroney for this to look very likely indeed.
Of particular cuteness was the moment between Ponor and Iordache when the latter went into the lead on floor. Queen Cata for some reason appears to have given up eating her young colleagues, and instead has morphed into supportive mama role.
It did not escape our attention that both Ponor and Izbasa appeared to be wearing the same size leotards as the other three despite being a generation older than them. Still, not many can pull off a poorly cut and fitted teeny white leotard at their ages.
We were interested to note that Izbasa wore the same neon green in vault finals as she did last year. Lucky, perhaps?
2. Bizarrely, Ukraine. They never had any real chance of making TF’s, so 9th place in qualification was a reasonable result for them, as was two EF’s. Kononenko nabbing herself another bars bronze was the icing on the cake. Just occasionally, they rage, rage against the dying of the light. We trust this settles the question of who gets their Olympic spot, too. Bugger Kysla.
3. Italy. They probably hoped for an individual medal or two, but the team bronze is the bigger prize. They got what they came for.
4. Grishina. She was the team MVP in finals. Sure, she didn’t have a perfect meet, but she didn’t spontaneously combust all of the place, either. Below, Bronwyn pays tribute through the medium of eyebrows.
Her EF fall can be forgiven as the rest of the routine was utterly perfect, and actually we were surprised bronze wasn’t closer. Nearly everything Hannah Whelan does on beam should have an execution deduction. Speaking of which…
5. Hannah Whelan. Absolutely blew everyone away. Nobody, but nobody, was predicting two medals for her. Yes, beam was a splatfest, but if you can keep your head when all around you are losing theirs, sometimes you can clean up. Sometimes, bent legs are less important than consistency. Octavian Belu built an entire dynasty on these principles.
It was no one off either- Hannah finished 3rd in two EFs and was also the unofficial European AA bronze medallist. The only letdown was her fall in TFs. In some ways, she’s as important to the British team as more famous and decorated teammate Beth Tweddle.