Ellie Downie became the first British gymnast to win a European all around title. Photograph: Ellie Downie/Instagram

The European all around competition was held in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, on 21 April 2017.

The all around crown was won by Great Britain’s Ellie Downie (55.765), who made history, becoming the first British gymnast to win an all around European title, as well as an all around title in any major international competition. Downie’s best score came on vault, where she scored a 14.533 for a clean double-twisting Yurchenko. She also scored a very good 14.300/5.9 on the uneven bars, where she had only tiny form breaks throughout, a 13.066/5.3 on beam for a very good set, with only one major break on her double spin, and a 13.833/5.5 on floor. Her new floor routine, which includes a difficult double-double and a one-and-a-half twist into double Arabian, suits her very well, and today she performed it fine, only finishing a bit short of her double Arabian.

Downie trailed silver medallist Zsofia Kovacs from Hungary all the way through the competition, but got the edge on floor exercise. Kovacs had an outstanding competition (55.432), which started on vault, where she almost stuck the most beautiful double-twisting Yurchenko of the day (14.600). Kovacs also performed a very good routine on the uneven bars (14.333/6.0), with only tiny form breaks and a big step on landing, and was the only gymnast of the top-group not to have major form breaks on beam (13.466/5.1). On floor, she performed a clean routine for a 13.033, but her low difficulty (4.9) did not allow her to keep up with Downie’s 5.5.

Third was France’s Mélanie de Jesus dos Santos (55.065), who is a beautiful gymnast with loads of power and potential on all apparatuses. De Jesus dos Santos started her competition on bars, where she scored a 14.100/5.8, which seemed slightly underscored, as she certainly had the best execution among the three top gymnasts and stuck her super difficult full-in layout dismount. De Jesus dos Santos also posted the highest score of the day on beam (13.833/5.8) and the third highest score on vault (14.366/5.4), which sealed her bronze medal. She also scored a 12.766/4.9 on floor, for a routine with a lot of difficulty and plenty of power she still needs to learn to master. But overall, what a performance, she has a bright future ahead of her!

Junior European champion Elena Eremina of Russia finished fourth (54.266), after a costly fall on beam on the very first element. Fifth was Germany’s Kim Bui at almost thirty years old! (53.499), sixth was Italy’s Martina Maggio (53.199), seventh was Belgium’s Nina Derwael (52.832) and eighth was Portugal’s Filipa Martins (52.832).

The first Romanian gymnast was Ioana Crisan, who finished eighteenth (51.032), which shows that Romania’s issues with team depth, especially in the all around, are still to be solved.

It was a disappointing day for the Netherland’s Eythora Thorsdottir, who finished twelfth (51.965), after disastrous performances on bars and especially on beam. She however finished strong on floor, with a 13.533, the second best score of the day. It was a disappointing day also for Russian champion Natalia Kapitonova, who finished ninth (52.766), after a poor 11.900 on beam.

Overall, despite the inevitable mistakes at such an early stage of the season and of the quad, the level of the competition was high. There was only one score below 50.00, which is an excellent prospect for the future. Four years ago, there were several scores on the 49-range, and this with the old scoring system. It was also very nice to see that none of the three medallists counted a fall, a recurrent problem in the 2009-2012 quad. Finally, for the first time in ages there was no medallist from the two European powerhouses, Russia and Romania. If this was, on the one hand, quite sad and vaguely worrying, on the other hand, it was nice to see the rise of smaller programmes, such as Great Britain and France, and of excellent individual gymnasts, like Kovacs.

Event finals are coming up this weekend, stay tuned!

By Talitha Ilacqua


WOGymnastikA is a blog turned website which brings you the latest updates on women’s artistic gymnastics as well as exclusive interviews with your favorite gymnasts. If you are interested in joining our team, please contact us on wogymnastika@gmail.com .


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