Patras, 21-Apr-2002

Senior Apparatus Finals - Kvasha Breaks Russia’s Stride

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

In the vault final, gymnasts had to perform two vaults from different families with the scores being averaged. 

Spain’s Elena Gomez landed her RO-full-twisting ff on back pike off well but could only manage a full-twisting Yurchenko as a second vault. Oana Petrovschi, competing in her only final here, opened with a 1 ½ twisting Yurchenko (bent knees) and took a large hop forwards on her RO-1/2 on front pike off. Ilaria Colombo followed with the same two vaults but could land neither properly. Verona van de Leur then took the lead with a double Yurchenko that was beautifully twisted but went off centre on the landing. She stuck her second vault of RO-full-twisting ff on back layout off. Monica Bergamelli was way off centre on her double twisting Yurchenko and then scored a zero when she landed her second vault on her hands and knees. Alyona Kvasha had a major arm bend going into her handspring full-twisting front layout and messy legs throughout but nailed it. She fell to her hands on her 1 ½ twisting Tsukahara. Yelena Zamolodchikova went into the lead briefly after her double twisting Tsukahara but then totally crashed her double twisting Yurchenko.

Natalia Ziganshina picked up the slack by standing up both her double twisting Yurchenko and her RO-1/2 on pike ½ off (layout position in the first half).

  Bars provided unexpected drama with two of the favourites faltering. Suzanne Harmes got things going with a powerful routine (nice stalder to 1 ½ to Jaeger). 

She was overtaken by Britain’s Beth Tweddle, who had swung her set with ease and style, catching her Markelov and Gienger. Alyona Kvasha was clean, but not overly exciting, showing a nice full pirouette on the low bar. Monica Bergamelli was very dynamic to outscore Kvasha. Renske Endel glided through her stalder work with ease and caught her Jaeger, but overarched a handstand on high bar to leave some room. Her routine was the only one with a ten start value. In the first shocker, Lyudmila Yezhova lost her swing on a giant and jumped off in a routine that seemed to be going well. 

Next, Irina Yarotskaya fell three times, meaning that Tweddle had a medal for sure, so Beth Tweddle wrote history for Britisch Gymnastics.   The colour was decided by Svetlana Khorkina, who put another bars title under her belt with her excellent work (9,8 SV).  

Beam brought a long awaited gold for Russia’s Lyudmila Yezhova.

Last up, she competed her difficult routine – Onodi- front aerial-side somi- calmly and with confidence before breaking into a delighted smile after her 2 ½ twist dismount. Off the podium, she was greeted with a huge hug from Svetlana Khorkina. Khorkina navigated her mount sequence RO- full-twisting ff –ff- layout well for second place. Verona van de Leur brought home another medal for her routine that included a RO- layout mount and finished with a 2 ½ twist. Ilaria Colombo wobbled on her ff-layout but was solid elsewhere for fourth. Suzanne Harmes had a big wobble on her full-twisting tuck jump. Delphine Regease posted the lowest start value of the final – 9,3 and wobbled on her full-twisting ff. Fresh off her bars medal, Beth Tweddle skidded along the beam after a ff to layout to two feet but stayed on. Elena Gomez nearly fell on her RO-layout mount and had to put her hand on the beam.  


 Maria Teresa Gargano got the last final of the competition underway with a full-in; 2 ½ twist punch front and a triple twist (9,5 SV). Motivated by the deafening cheers of the home crowd which for once half filled the arena, 

Dimitra Kastritsi tumbled a double layout, a handspring double twisting front to punch front and two whips through to a double pike. Tatiana Yarosh fell forward on her closing double pike and looked a bit uninspired throughout the routine. Verona van de Leur looked on track to finally break into the gold but stepped out of bounds. Elena Gomez was back on track for Spain with a tucked full-in, 2 ½ twist punch front full; triple twist and double pike. Riding on a high since winning bronze AA, Alyona Kvasha gave nothing away in her tumbling during her Arabian style routine with rock solid landings. Svetlana Khorkina returned to her double twist to split jump dismount (9,5) and took a step to the side after her whip triple twist. Natalia Ziganshina could have still taken a second gold, but when she came up short on her whip triple twist, the gold was Kvasha’s.  

Russia’s domination of these European Championships came as no surprise after the Romanian withdrawal. With team and all-around medals as well as a medal in each of the apparatus finals, 
Dutch gymnastics has finally made the transition from underdog to European powerhouse. Holland has arrived. Alyona Kvasha’s success was able to undo some of the damage the Ukrainian women’s programme had received after their dismal showing in Ghent 2001.
Svetlana Khorkina won her 10th gold medal - all together 15 European medals - like nobody before!

    Host Greece  offered to the first time video clips of some details, which you can down load with Real 

  Natalia Ziganshina
(Vault: Jurtschenko)
Ludmilla Eshova

  Alona Kvasha
(Acro: Tsukahara)


former reports
(senior all around final)