Patras, 20-Apr-2002

Senior AA: Khorkina Wins A Thriller

From Patras: Nora Schuler (GER); Photos by Massimo Cogliati (ITA)

The 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.

<< The Italian delegation had substituted Iliaria Colombo, who has an injured calf muscle, with Monica Bergamelli (photo).
Colombo is to be rested for Sunday’s finals.  

The first rotation began with Svetlana Khorkina landing her RO-1/2 on 1 ˝ twisting tuck off on her knees and taking a big lunge forward on her 1 ˝ twisting Yurchenko. Natalia Ziganshina then also took a very low landing on her double twisting Yurchenko followed by a big hop forwards. She bounced back on her second attempt. Beginning on her best event, bars, Britain’s Beth Tweddle was great for a 9,100 to set her up nicely for the competition. 

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 ˝ 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 ˝ 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.

In 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 ˝ 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 ˝ 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 ˝ twist punch front full and whip triple twist. Oana Petrovschi’s fist vault was a 1 ˝ twisting Yurchenko, which she stuck. She showed a RO – ˝ on front pike off for a second vault and took a hop forward.

.. at the end a difference from 
0,05 points..., 
but what happy Svetlana!!

Then Khorkina took to the floor, still with a chance of taking the gold. She opened with a whip triple twist, continued with a double pike and finished with a 2 ˝ twist as opposed to the double twist she had shown in the team competition. The judges took a long time before coming up with her score  When the 9,387 was flashed and her name appeared in first place on th score board, a lot of spectators booed loudly. 

Natalia Ziganshina and Alyona Kvasha still had the chance of a medal. Ziganshina was first up and stepped out of bounds on her 2 ˝ twist punch front full but was very clean elsewhere for a 9,25. Kvasha then stepped up looking confident and nailed all of her four tumbling runs – piked full-in; handspring double front; 2 ˝ twist to punch front and tucked full-in- to delighted screams of her Ukrainian team mates. They screamed even louder when the score showed her in third place. 

Look at me...!
Bronze, Alyona Kvasha (UKR)

former reports
(junior team final)