Enjoy this post, because we clearly aren’t going to get the full set of predictions up before the action starts, or even before it finishes. It’s one thing cheating a bit and scrambling our picks between qualifications and finals, quite another not to publish them until after the closing ceremony.
However, vault should be relatively short. Partly because there are only a couple of actual contenders, and partly because I’m not that well up on things anyway. Europe’s vaulting superstars Sandra Izbasa and Oksana Chusovitina will not be present: the former because of her university exams, the latter because, in the fifth switch of her career, she now competes once again for Uzbekistan.
The gold medal is clearly the Paseka v Berger show. Fresh from their battle royale to be the worst Olympic bronze medallist on vault since, well, the last one, we now have round two. As Euros judging is usually a bit stricter than worlds and Olympics, and Euros judges do occasionally downgrade, Masha is less likely to get undeserved Amanar credit than she did in London.
Qualifications was the nearest she ever got to being fully round in London, and even this was 50/50 at best. EFs was a mile short. That, and the fact that the vault is only worth 6.3 now anyway, means she may start at a bit of a disadvantage. Hers will probably be the only Amanar in the final, so everyone else is now 0.2 closer to her than they were.
All three of her Russian teammates have had second vaults in the past, but we can find no record of any being thrown in podium training. As such, we’ll assume none of them will be accompanying Paseka in the final.
Larisa Iordache is throwing a DTY and an FTT. It’s interesting that Romania, who historically were pretty good at Tsuk entry vaults, have reverted back to them as soon as the ban on pairing them with Yurchenkos was lifted. Belu has evidently not forgotten how to coach them, and it’s worth noting that virtually every Romanian who ever did a Tsuk on his watch had very good preflight technique.
Anyways, one imagines this leaves Iordache well placed to challenge for bronze. She’ll have to beat Steingruber though, whose rudi apparently looked good in qualifying and who must have been very disappointed to miss the Olympic final. She’s another one who’ll be looking to make amends for a disappointing 2012.
Looking to Western Europe, former world and European vault medallist Youna Dufournet won’t be in attendance. Neither will any of her French teammates. Ruby Harrold for GB has shown two vaults in the past, but did only an FTY at the recent nationals so we’re not sure what happened there. Nor do we know if Becky Downie will be resurrecting her second vault either. We hope so, as this would be as good a chance as any for her to finally get that European individual medal.
Other gymnasts present who have previously competed a second vault include Dorina Boczogo, Carlotta Ferlito and Chantysha Netteb. Forgive us for the cluelessness about what’s going on, but alas the coverage of podium training has not been especially comprehensive. Still, we’ll see what’s what tomorrow.
1. Janine Berger
2. Maria Paseka
3. Giulia Steingruber