Senior AA: Khorkina Wins A Thriller
From Patras: Nora Schuler (GER); Photos by Massimo Cogliati (ITA)
competition started with a mild confusion even before the gymnasts
marched in as the announcer introduced the wrong judges – the announcer
had the list from qualifications and some judges looked very puzzled when
they were announced on the wrong event.
Alyona Kvasha (UKR) took a big step on her handspring front layout and added a full twist for the second one, also with a big lunge. Verona van de Leur nailed both her double twisting Yurchenko and the RO- full-twisting ff on back layout off for the highest vaulting score of the first rotation. Team mate Suzanne Harmes was equally confident in her two vaults. Yevgenia Kuznetsova put her hands down on her double layout dismount off bars. In the final routine of the first rotation, Belarussian Yulia Tarasenka took the lead with a great bars set that featured fantastic stalder work (10 SV). Oana Petrovschi was ninth after rotation one with a solid but not brilliant bars set.
Natalia Ziganshina climbed back up the ranks in the second rotation with an excellent bars set highlighted by a Shushunova. Alyona Kvasha muscled her way through her bars set (Jaeger; 2 front ½ out dismount) but couldn’t match Ziganschina’s class. Elena Gomez showed a beam set packed with difficulty but had to take a step to the side on her 2 ½ twist dismount. Over on bars, van de Leur scored a 9,537 for her strong set that started from a ten and ended with a stuck double-double. Oana Petrovschi demonstrated best Romanian tradition with a solid beam set that included a nice combination of one armed ff to ff. First round leader Yulia Tarasenka wobbled on her full-twisting tuck jump and sat down her double front dismount on beam. Suzanne Harmes caught her Jaeger well and then got stuck in handstand on a full-twisting front giant but pulled off her double front dismount just the same. Beth Tweddle had a few wobbles on beam but over on floor Rebecca Owen put in a strong routine nicely choreographed to a tango for a 9.062. Svetlana Khorkina went into the lead with another great set on bars including alle her trademark skills.
the third rotation, Kvasha got off
to a shaky start on beam with a few wobbles and her full twisting tuck
jump stopped after three quarters. Yevgenia
Kuznetsova competed a solid floor routine which was very well
received by the crowd, as was Elena Gomez
original dance and clean tumbling. Oana
Petrovschi went sideways on her opening tumble of 2 ½ twist
punch front full and finished with a triple twist. Van
de Leur showed a row of twisting combinations full-twisting
tuck jump to full-twisting ff and a 2 ½ twist dismount. Maria
Teresa Gargano also stayed on beam with a nice combination of
front aerial – ff-layout. Harmes
wobbled on her ff layout sequence but brought her triple twist all the way
around. A few wobbles on beam – new combination of full-twisting ff to
full-twisting ff to straddle - didn’t keep Khorkina
from keeping the lead after this rotation. Young team mate Ziganshina
was going really well until she landed her standing Arabian on one foot
and slipped off.
Verona van de Leur got off to a flying start in the final round with a super floor routine with every move being cheered by the Dutch supporters. She worked well to the music and her tumbling was as clean as a whistle – piked full-in; handspring double twisting front front layout; whip 2 ½ twist punch front full and whip triple twist. Oana Petrovschi’s fist vault was a 1 ½ twisting Yurchenko, which she stuck. She showed a RO – ½ on front pike off for a second vault and took a hop forward.