Sadness casts over Moscow at this years European Championships with the confirmation that Maria Livchikova is injured again. Turns out the poor dear tore her other ACL. This makes beam & floor finals a lot less interesting, and really even with a bars score in the 13’s, she could have been in the top 6 All-Around. What a complete atrocity that this beauty has suffered 2 jacked up knees in less than 2 years. #godbless
Let’s take a look at the rest of the field. As we all know, there’s no team competition this year. So we’re focusing on the All-Around & event specialists.
Bronwyn’s All-Around Predictions :
Any loyal Stoi! reader knows that I’ve been smoking the Grishina crack since she was a wee junior. One must be smoking the fanciest of crack in town to put her on top of an All-Around podium, but I’m from Pittsburgh so the shit is easy as pie to score.
Really, my podium predictions are more like fantasies, and rarely happen. Grishina is in my mind the most aesthetically pleasing gymnast to watch when she’s not landing upside down or on all fours. I like her more than Mustafina and Komova, and that’s saying a lot. She has all of the physical ingredients, capabilities, and potential to be a really great champion. She has that old-Soviet style of gymnastics (think Mostepanova) that I adore. And a hit record when it counts much like Dawes. With prettier feet, of course.
In order to top the field, she will have to be at her absolute Grishina-best on all 4, and hope for some serious errors from her competitors. I want her to win this thing not only as a confidence boost, but so that all of her detractors can eat shit. She needs to get a big title in before Komova comes back. Do you suspect she secretly prays that one of Komova/Mustafina are always injured? She told IG in a recent interview that she’s going to try and win Europeans and Worlds. We like this girls starry eyed ambition.
Where I see Aliya potentially making a mess of things is floor. Her endurance is nowhere where it needs to be. I’m thankful that she didn’t toss the triple at the end of her floor at Zakarova Cup, because she surely would have ate mat. I’d really like to see her work on a routine with 3 tumbling passes, preferably removing as much twisting as possible. Her triple has become so gutter trash that the rewards are really not worth the myriad of errors.
I like the music, and as always, she’s a pretty dancer, but. Has Aliya taken to choreographing her own floor routines? I love the girl madly, but Bogi you are not. Not just yet. Even with a triple helping of arm waves (ooh!) and penguin rolls (ahh!), you simply can’t sell a routine when you’re breathing heavier than Paris Hilton at a gangbang.
Iordache can top Mustafina & Grishina on every event except bars. In all likelihood, she should place second (and probably will), or even first if Mustafina biffs. But I just can’t take her beam routine (that’ll score mid 15’ish if she stays on) seriously. A full twist was and still is one of the riskiest elements out there. But 2 in one routine? One thing I really like about this code is that they’re pushing connections and the possibility for cool combos is endless. Larisa, you can do better than this.
But I will give her 2 snaps for that radical dismount. Some of her creativity looks to have been flushed down the shitter, but B & B haven’t completely Gogeanized her yet. Rio is still 3 years away, after all.
Clara’s All-Around Predictions :
1. Aliya Mustafina
2. Anastasia Grishina
3. Larisa Iordache
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, and I near enough have, you’ll know that Iordache and the twosome from Mother Russia are likely to carve up the AA podium between them. Let’s hope so anyway. Poor Komova is out injured, again. No doubt she’d have found a new way to win an oh so close and unlucky silver again: after all, she was screwed out of a world title, came out on the wrong end of a 50/50 in London, she needs the full set. Perhaps next time.
It may be significant that all 3 have something to prove. Grishina and to a lesser extent Iordache had nightmares in London. Not so for Aliya, but this is the title that got away. She can’t have forgotten 2011: not only should the AA title have been an enthronement then, but she ought to have had a good go at doing a Boginskaya and winning the whole set. You know that was her plan. So with all this in mind, it could be a real battle.
Anyway, I’m going to go for Aliya simply because she’s got the headgame. Certainly, she looked positively asthmatic by the end of the last FX she competed. But then floor is the event she always has most trouble with when not in peak condition. Look at 2012 Euros, 2011 Scam. It’s just hard to imagine she won’t, once again, pull it out of the bag on the big day. that’s what she does.
On the other hand, Grishina has been looking rather tip top lately. Some have suggested that the Olympics simply came at the wrong time for her, and it’s worth noting that lots of the 1996 girls in London underachieved. Grishina was merely the most egregious example of this. If you’d told me this time 2 years ago that she, Iordache and Kyla Ross would be the Olympic AA medallists, I’d have found that quite plausible. Even as late as about Feb 2012, it would have been realistic.
Anyway, this is a similar situation to the London AA in that going in, there were 3 class acts and it didn’t matter what order they ended up on the podium in, as long as they all did. A podium made up of Iordache, Grishina and Mustafina is full of win, whatever the order. As long as those are the three we get, it’s fine. I haven’t recovered from the loss of my planned Komova-Mustafina-Porgras top 3 in 2011 yet.