by Anna Rose Johnson
The 2017 European Championships are underway in Cluj, Romania! Men’s qualifications just wrapped up today with Oleg Verniaiev (UKR) topping the all-around rankings, followed by Russia’s Artur Dalaloyan. Women’s podium training was held yesterday, and we’re sharing a handful of videos from the training sessions that you definitely don’t want to miss!
Reigning Olympic beam champion Sanne Wevers (NED) has put together another beautiful beam exercise. The veteran gymnast still has a wealth of difficulty, largely comprised of gorgeous interconnected spins. (Check out her stunning, original connection at 0:20!) Wevers recently won the beam silver at the 2017 Melbourne World Cup with a score of 14.500.
Larisa Iordache of Romania will be performing only two events in this competition, bars and beam. After missing most of 2016 due to injuries, Iordache looks to make a great comeback this year—her beam at the recent Sainté Gym Cup was an artistic gem. Her bars routine in podium training highlighted her brilliant swing and clever combinations, although she’ll be looking to clean up a few leg separations in competition.
Russia’s Natalia Kapitonova performed an effortless uneven bars routine with near-flawless form and classical lines. She had unfortunate leg separations on her Pak salto and subsequent transition to the high bar, but otherwise this routine was largely perfect. Her style is reminiscent of Viktoria Komova and, more recently, Madison Kocian—she’s definitely one to watch in the future!
Russia’s Maria Paseka has rebounded from her back injury and looks to continue her success streak on vault, her best apparatus. She performed this strong Amanar in podium training:
Romania’s perennial champion Catalina Ponor vowed to return to gymnastics after a challenging Rio Olympics, and she’s targeted these European Championships for some time now. She fell during her podium training floor routine but recovered beautifully (see at 0:46), and be sure to check out the amazing height and form on her double layout mount! Additionally, her new floor music includes a piece of Edvard Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King.” (Gym trivia: Kerri Strug used this music in 1995, as did Natalia Laschenova in 1989.) The choreography of this routine is truly lovely as well.
And of course, no compilation of intriguing European performances would be complete without the delicate lyricism of Eythora Thorsdottir (NED)! She had some difficulty controlling her landings in podium training, but this floor routine was energetic, creative, and polished with her trademark style.
The women’s competition begins tomorrow and we can’t wait!
Image © Ricardo Bufolin
Anna Rose Johnson writes about women’s artistic and rhythmic gymnastics. She loves Whippets, brownies, and full-twisting double layouts. Her writing portfolio can be viewed at: https://annarosejohnson.contently.com