This weekend marked the beginning of elite competition in 2017 and under a new code of points with both Elite Canada and the Reykjavik International Games taking place. These were the first competitions with this new code and provided us with some insight into what scores will look like for the next four years (i.e. lower than what we’re used to) and what new routine composition trends will surface to adapt to the new code and maximize difficulty scores.
Competing in her “second home country” as she herself called it, Eythora Thorsdottir of the Netherlands had a very impressive competition winning the All-Around title with a total of 56.350. If you consider that all-around scores have dropped by about two full points due to a loss of 0.5 in composition requirements on each event, then this is an amazing scores for her to start the season with. On vault she presented a FTY (which in now 4.6) and scored 13.900, while on bars she pretty much kept her routine from Rio but downgraded her dismount to a double tuck which brought her score down a bit to the mid-13s. Beam and floor were, as usual, her best pieces and already showed some adjustments to the new code in an attempt to maintain her competitiveness for this new quad. On beam she debuted a new round-off to BHS mount, as well as a 1.5 turn before her already famous side aerial to Korbut to score in the high 14s, despite some wobbles and missed connections and step to the side on her 2.5 twist dismount. Finishing on floor, she once again amazed the crowd with her incredible choreography and her beautiful turn series (seriously, go watch it, it’s the best she’s ever done it), while also showing strong tumbling with a double tuck, 2.5 twist and front layout full to stag jump to receive 14.000. Despite this really good results for her, Eythora still has plenty of room for improvement and upgrades, as well as bringing back her DTY and her full-in dismount on bars, so keep your eyes on her for Euros and Worlds because she’s on the right track to become a top contender and challenge for medals at both competitions.
In second place with 54.600 was Russia’s Daria Spiridonova after what was also a solid day for her. On vault she showed a FTY and scored 13.350, suggesting it was somewhat messy as usually happens for her, while on her best event bars, she scored 14.350 with a routine very similar to the one she performed in Rio (now worth just 5.6) but with some form breaks on her van Leeuwen and multiple steps on her full-in dismount. Next on beam she also debuted a beautiful round-off to BHS mount, receiving a score in the high-13s after a mostly solid routine with just some wobbles on her layout step-out and a low landing on her double tuck dismount. Finally on floor, Spiridonova managed to hit her routine successfully with just a step out-of-bounds and a deep landing on her last pass, showing a double tuck, front tuck to double twist (I foresee a new trend emerging here) and double pike, as well as a split leap 1.5, a triple turn and a memmel turn for a low-13. Daria was never a true all-arounder with bars and sometimes beam the only events where she can actually help the team, but she still put up a good performance and hit all her routines to take home the Silver medal here.
Less than five tenths behind Spiridonova was USA’s Sydney Johnson-Scharpf with 54.150 in third place after a disappointing exercise on beam kept her from reaching Silver position. Still, she was the only gymnast to score in the 14s on vault after a really good DTY brought her a 14.500 and also managed the top score on floor with 14.050 after her sassy and difficult routine with a 1.5 twist to double arabian, double arabian piked, 2.5 twist and double tuck. On bars, she presented a solid routine which already prevents any empty swing deductions after Shaposh transitions, connecting her Maloney to a Tkachev and her Chow to a Gienger, but some form issues and missed handstands kept her score in the high-13s. Finally on beam she only received an 11.800 after big wobbles on her back tuck, front tuck and LOSO and then falling on her front aerial in what was probably a routine she wants to forget (except the dismount, the dismount was great). Outside the podium, the competition mostly featured Icelandic girls with also Claudia Tomeo and Paula Norberto from Spain and Victoria Gilberg from Denmark, all scoring in the 40-45 range and nowhere near the podium finishers.
On the Junior side, tiny 12-year-old Irina Komnova of Russia won the all-around title with 50.900 after a generally solid day. On vault she performed two different vaults, scoring 13.300 on both, while on bars she received a 12.700 for her 4.4-difficulty routine. Beam was her nemesis at this meet, scoring just below 12 after falls on her wolf turn (just get rid of it!) and her layout, as well as wobbles and hesitation on most of her skills. On floor she nearly broke the 13s mark after a solid performance featuring a whip to whip to double tuck, 1.5 twist to front layout, 2.5 twists and double pike, as well as a beautiful double attitude turn and an attempt at a triple L turn. Despite her young age, Irina showed great confidence and poise in all her routines and should continue to improve as she gets older and closer to her Senior debut (which won’t be until 2020). Behind Komnova, Margrét Lea Kristinsdóttir of Iceland placed second with 45.750 and her teammate Sonja Margrét Ólafsdóttir placed third with 45.100, followed by other Icelandic girls and Spain’s Claudia Villalba.
For the men, the biggest competitor was Olympic AA Silver medalist Oleg Verniaiev of Ukraine who unsurprisingly won the all-around title with 85.000, nearly fifteen (!) points ahead of the Silver medalist. His first competition of 2017 didn’t start as he would have hoped with just 11.600 on floor after falls plagued his routine. Nonetheless, he was able to make up for that on his next events scoring in 15.550 on both pommels and rings after solid performances and stuck dismounts. On vault, he once again presented his Dragulescu, landing with his chest a bit low and having to take a few steps for a low 15. On his favorite event, parallel bars, he posted his top score with a 15.600 after a great routine capped off with a stuck double front half-out dismount. Still, because Oleg is Oleg and his last event was high bar, he had disastrous routine scoring about has much in difficulty and in execution (5.8 and 5.850, respectively) after falling on his layout Tkachev half and an inbar skill, going crazy on his legs after another inbar and lastly rolling out of his double twisting double layout dismount. Fortunately, this is just a small friendly competition and he was able to laugh it off after all of his falls so hopefully this won’t happen at important meets like Euros or Worlds (don’t you dare, Oleg!). Aside from Verniaiev, only Jón Sigurður Gunnarsson of Iceland competed on all events and obviously finished second with 70.300.
On the junior side of MAG, only seven Icelandic gymnasts competed, along with Stasis Butrimas of Ukraine, with the all-around title going to Martin Bjarni Guðmundsson with 69.700, followed by Jónas Ingi Thórisson in second with 65.200 and Breki Snorrason in third with 63.400.
Overall, the Reykjavik International Games provided us with the first impression of the Code of Points for the 2017-2020 quad and the new composition trends we’re expected to see for the next few years. Most gymnasts still haven’t adapted completely to the new rules and scores seem a bit low but as time goes by and coaches realize the best ways to work with the code, scores should start to increase and gymnasts should get more comfortable with the new structure of the routines, maintaining the amazing balance of difficulty and beauty that characterizes the sport of gymnastics.
Full results here.