Besides the Gander Memorial on Tuesday, this week saw another gymnastics Memorial on Saturday, November 5th in Barcelona, Spain. This time it was dedicated to Joaquín Blume, a Spanish gymnast who competed internationally during the 50s and died at the young age of 25 in a plane crash that also took the life of his wife and the entire Spanish gymnastics that was aboard. To honor his memory and his legacy, the Spanish Federation initiated this friendly competition in 1969 and has since become one of the most important meets of the last few months of the season.
This time around, Belgium’s star Nina Derwael took home the Gold with a final score of 56.150 after receiving scores in the mid-14s on bars and beam, as well as a 13.950 on vault and a somewhat low 13.250 on floor after not finishing her Memmel turn and a low landing on her double tuck dismount. Nonetheless, thanks to the mistakes of others, she was able to walk away with the Gold and once again make History for the Belgium team. In second place was French first-year Senior Mélanie de Jesus dos Santos with 54.400. Dos Santos presented a very clean FTY with just a hop backwards for a score in the mid-14s, followed by some issues on bars that kept her score in the low-13s. On beam she nearly reached the 14s range and finished up with a solid and entertaining floor routine despite a step out-of-bounds on her double pike for a 13.100. The bronze medal went to Olympic Silver medalist Seda Tutkhalyan of Russia with 54.250 after disappointing performances on most events. On vault, Tutkhalyan showed a messy DTY with a very low landing to score just 14.200, while on bars she sat her double front dismount after a somewhat labored routine for a result in the low-13s. On her best or worst event, beam, she also didn’t have her best day counting a fall for a mid-13 and lastly on floor she managed the first hit of the day with a solid but downgraded routine that ended up being her lowest score of the day (13.150). It’s truly sad to see such a talented gymnast falter time and time again and one can only hope things will get better as she gets older and more mentally mature to deal with the pressure of competition. Outside the podium were French Junior Lorette Charpy in fourth with 53.950, Dorina Boczogo of Hungary in fifth with 51.600 and Spanish girls Claudia Colom in sixth with 51.450, Ana Palacios in seventh with 49.300, Marta Sanchez in eighth with 48.600 and finally Violeta Sanches in ninth with 46.000.
On the men’s side, Nikita Nagornyy of Russia completely ruled the competition, debuting his triple back on floor and winning the Gold medal with a total score of 88.900. Aside from sticking his brand new tripe back dismount, Nagornyy also stuck multiple other passes on his floor and had one of the best executed routines to receive the top score of the day (15.500). Unfortunately he had mistakes on pommel horse and only scored in the low-13s, but was able to recover very well on his other events posting in the low to mid-15s on rings, vault and parallel bars, as well as a low-14 on high bar. In second place was Spanish Rúben López with 85.950 after scores in the 14s everywhere but parallel bars where he reached 15.100 and pommel horse where he had mistakes and scored in the mid-12s, while the bronze medal went to Kanji Oyama of the USA with 85.350 after scores in the 14s on floor, rings, vault and parallel bars, as well as 13s on pommels and high bar. Aside from the medalists, the top 8 included Sebastian Krimmer of Germany in fourth with 83.500, Adria Vera of Spain in fifth with 82.200, Dzianis Sanuvonh of Belarus in sixth with 81.700, Javier Hinojosa of Spain in seventh with 81.500 and Pietro Giachino of Norway in eighth with 80.850.
In the end, this was another friendly meet dedicated to the honor and legacy of a past gymnastics star where athletes got back into action after a small break following the Olympics and subpar performances shouldn’t be worrisome. The next season is still months away and everything can change as we enter this new Olympic cycle.