Bern’s PostFinance Arena was full to the brim on this last day of the 2016 Artistic Gymnastics European Championships. An enthusiastic crowd of 6000 spectators loudly cheered for all gymnasts, the atmosphere was truly splendid.
Top qualifier and crowd favourite Giulia Steingruber produced a great first vault but had several execution deductions on her second vault, making her score a target for Great Britain’s Ellie Downie who has less difficulty. Downie delivered two clean vaults but it wasn’t enough to beat the Swiss superstar. 5 hundredths of a point between the two: gold goes to the home nation and silver to Team GB. Russia’s Ksenia Afanasyeva downgraded her vaults, taking the bronze medal just like she did last year in Montpellier.
1. Giulia Steingruber (SUI) 14.983
2. Ellie Downie (GBR) 14.933
3. Ksenia Afanasyeva (RUS) 14.699
4. Sofia Busato (ITA) 14.599
5. Claudia Fragapane (GBR) 14.549
6. Teja Belak (SLO) 14.483
7. Zsofia Kovacs (HUN) 14.216
8. Katarzyna Jurkowska-Kowalska (POL) 13.700
This final was a dream scenario, an exciting battle between the 2014 European Champion Becky Downie and her successor, and 2015 World Champion, Daria Spiridonova. The latter originally didn’t make the final, posting the 4thscore but being the third Russian she didn’t advance. After a superb bars routine in the team final yesterday however the Russian coaches decided to pull Angelina Melnikova out of the final and give Spiridonova a chance to defend her title. Downie was third up. Her difficulty was insane: 6.9, and she swung through it well, resulting in a massive 15.500. None of the other competitors came close, until it was the turn of the last gymnast, Spiridonova. Her routine was near-perfect, just a hesitation after a pirouette, and difficult. But it was not enough to beat Downie, 15.500 to 15.466. Downie regains her European bars crown!
1. Becky Downie (GBR) 15.500
2. Daria Spiridonova (RUS) 15.466
3. Aliya Mustafina (RUS) 15.100
4. Kim Bui (GER) 14.533
5. Zsofia Kovacs (HUN) 14.400
6. Giulia Steingruber (SUI) 14.166
7. Gabby Jupp (GBR) 13.400
8. Martina Rizzelli (ITA) 13.366
Romania’s Catalina Ponor got this final going. Unusually for her, she missed some connections, bringing down her D-score. First-year senior Marine Boyer followed, with calm confidence in her first individual European final. She matched Aliya Mustafina for the highest difficulty score but got more execution deductions than the Russian queen who really rocked beam, setting the example of how do work on beam. Just a little balance check, the rest was fabulous, taking the title with a lead of half a point. Gold for Mustafina, silver for Boyer and bronze for Ponor, a very nice podium! Switzerland’s Ilaria Kaeslin performed a stunning routine, unfortunately it lacked difficulty and she ended just off the podium. Becky Downie, fresh from her victory on bars, struggled a bit but did manage to stay on the apparatus. No falls in this beam final! This doesn’t happen often…
1. Aliya Mustafina (RUS) 15.100
2. Marine Boyer (FRA) 14.600
3. Catalina Ponor (ROU) 14.266
4. Ilaria Kaeslin (SUI) 14.233
5. Angelina Melnikova (RUS) 14.166
6. Gaelle Mys (BEL) 14.066
7. Marine Brevet (FRA) 14.066
8. Becky Downie (GBR) 14.066
Giulia Steingruber brought the house down with a sublime floor routine of the highest difficulty and executed precisely and with a smile. The crowd thanked her for her magnificent performance throughout the week with a standing ovation. The Swiss was untouchable, winning her second gold by a comfortable margin, again ahead of Ellie Downie who showed spectacular tumbling. Catalina Ponor added another bronze to her collection, holding off top qualifier Claudia Fragapane who had too many form errors to challenge for the title.
1. Giulia Steingruber (SUI) 15.200
2. Ellie Downie (GBR) 14.566
3. Catalina Ponor (ROU) 14.466
4. Claudia Fragapane (GBR) 14.300
5. Mara Titarsolej (NED) 13.933
6. Marine Brevet (FRA) 13.900
7. Gaelle Mys (BEL) 13.666
8. Amelie Foellinger (GER) 13.466
Nearly 40% of parents of girls report their daughters being inspired to take up a sport after watching professionals in action.
England 6-Russia )