Posts Tagged ‘2010 European Championships’

Allez Youna!

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010



Poor Youna. She has had such bad luck on the uneven bars lately! First she lost a medal at the 2010 European Championships after French National Coach Eric Demay accidentally touched her while spotting her on the Def, incurring a 0.5 deduction. You can catch a clear view of this incident at 1:15.

Youna Dufournet, Uneven Bars, 2010 European Championships

That was a mistake. Demay is not Dufournet’s personal coach, and he probably just erred on the side of caution and ended up mistiming his spotting.

What gets me is the turn of events just a few weeks later at the French National Championships. This time it’s Dufournet’s personal coach in charge: Marc Chirilcenco. Never before have I seen a coach spot a gymnast in such a fashion. Could it be that he was sticking it to Demay and making a show of not touching his gymnast? Well that plan sure backfired; Dufournet slipped off the bar and landed awkwardly, injuring her meniscus.

Youna Dufournet, Uneven Bars, 2010 French National Championships

Athlete safety should be paramount. Dufournet showed some lovely gymnastics at the 2009 World Championships and at the 2010 European Championships, but before that she was inconsistent as all get out and an accident waiting to happen. One of the most alarming examples of this is her floor routine from the 2009 European Championships. The scary crashes at 0:17 and 0.58 prove that she was not ready to perform a double layout or a 1.5-twist through to double back.

Youna Dufournet, Floor Exercise, 2009 European Championships

Why push her? She is such a clean gymnast that she will still score well with easier routines. Case in point: Dufournet won the bronze medal on vault at the 2009 World Championships with a near-perfect Yurchenko-1.5 and a clean layout Podkopayeva. I hope Dufournet recovers in time to make a run for the 2012 Olympic Games. And maybe a change of coach wouldn’t hurt….

Russia Reigns

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Russia reigned supreme at the European Championships held this week in Birmingham, England. Junior gymnasts from this country won every single gold available, with Larisa Iordache of Romania tying for top honours on the floor exercise. Viktoria Komova and Anastasia Grishina packed a 1-2 punch in the all-around, and they even managed to split apparatus golds between them. Both have loads of difficulty and a style very much reminiscent of the Soviet greats that came before. Indeed, Komova is the daughter of 1986 Goodwill Games champion Vera Kolesnikova.

Viktoria Komova (RUS), 2010 European Championships, Balance Beam

The Russians all entered their beginning poses on floor exercise with a flourish. Grishina’s superior technique is evident at 0:27 with her floaty leg-up double turn to double stag jump and at 0:35 with her triple twist.

Anastasia Grishina (RUS), 2010 European Championships, Floor Exercise

Sometimes I ask myself why I love it so much when the Russian gymnasts succeed. I think the main reason is that the Soviets from years past are the very epitome of what gymnastics should be, and I want that tradition to be passed along to the new crop of gymnasts. Unfortunately, the other former Soviet republics are struggling; former powerhouses such as Belarus have fallen off the gymnastics map. The results of the Ukrainian gymnasts at these European Championships are particularly upsetting given their rich legacy in the sport. They managed just one bronze from senior Natalia Kononenko on the uneven bars, and no junior gymnasts qualified to event finals at all. (Is it true that two of the Ukrainian junior gymnasts come from gyms where they still train on wooden balance beams?!).

Natalia Kononenko (UKR), 2010 European Championships, Uneven Bars

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkfamdRPR-8

What a tricky routine, performed with fantastic form! It was lucky for Kononenko that she hung on to the bronze, as Youna Dufournet (FRA) would have bumped her to fourth place had her coach not accidentally touched her following her Def.

Another reason I want the Russians to achieve great results is that the routines they display show the winning combination of artistry and difficulty in a time when many gymnasts simply forgo choreography.

Viktoria Komova (RUS), 2010 European Championships, Floor Exercise

I really appreciate all that Beth Tweddle has done for British gymnastics, but she should have to show more than just spectacular tumbling to earn gold medals on floor exercise (2009 Worlds and now 2010 Europeans). Anyway, there’s no disputing that her uneven bars are among the best in the world. Unbelievable!

Beth Tweddle (GBR), 2010 European Championships, Uneven Bars

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Cg7nmg3dS8

I hope these European Championships mark the start of an upward trend in Russian gymnastics. Komova and Grishina have proven they have what it takes to lead Russia to great success in the future. Davai!