Following the two qualification days and the men’s all-around final in the morning, the women’s all-around final took place on Friday afternoon, gathering the top 24 female gymnasts across all four apparatus. While some athletes were not at their best here, the competition was still very entertaining and full of surprises.
In first place, maintaining her position from qualifications despite a slightly lower score was British superstar Ellie Downie with a total of 55.765. On vault she presented her usual tight DTY with a small hop back for a mid-14, while on bars she was also very clean hitting her Hindorff, toe-on full to piked Tkachev to pak, van Leeuwen and double layout dismount with just a tiny hop back for a score in the low to mid-14s. Unfortunately she didn’t have her best exercise on beam, scoring in the low-13s after a big wobble on her double turn and another sizeable balance check on her BHS to LOSO series. Nonetheless, she hit her front tuck to split jump, a high arabian, a switch to switch half and capped off her routine with a stuck 2.5 twist dismount, proving she did not get fazed by those mistakes. Finishing her day on floor, Downie managed to keep her successful streak, showing a double double with a hop forward, a 1.5 twists through to double arabian stumbling backwards quite a bit with two big steps and a nearly stuck double pike, as well as a Gogean leap and a switch full as her most difficult dance elements to score in the high-13s. After an incredible start to her senior career in the second half of the 2013-2016 quad, Ellie seems ready to stick around for a little longer and continue to kick ass with her great performances on all four events, all the while helping Team GB achieve some historical results.
To the surprise and delight of many gymfans all over the world, Zsofia Kovacs of Hungary was able to get the silver medal with a score of 55.432 after a fantastic day from her. Just like Downie, Kovacs vaults a super clean DTY, which she landed with just a tiny step to post in the mid-14s. Next on bars, she showed a very difficult routine (6.0 D-score), which features an inbar to inbar full to Maloney to pak to van Leeuwen connection, as well as an inbar half to piked jaeger and a full-in dismount dismount, which was a bit low this time and forced her to take a big step forward to score in the low to mid-14s. Despite being a relatively simple and easy routine, she was incredible on beam, only counting a small wobble on her switch to switch half and a hop back on her double tuck dismount for a mid-13, before moving on to floor where she had another low-difficulty exercise but hit everything cleanly, nearly sticking her double layout and full-in and landing her front full and double tuck with just small steps forward to receive a score just above 13. While Zsofia might not be quite at the same level as some of the other top gymnasts in terms of difficulty, her gymnastics as always been really clean and she’s been upgrading recently so you better get used to seeing her on the podium because she will certainly continue to contend for the top positions in the all-around.
In third place, also coming in as a big surprise, was Mélanie de Jesus dos Santos, the half-Portuguese half-Martinican French girl, with a total of 55.065. Following the top medalists trend, she also vaulted a DTY, landing with a big hop back for a score in the mid-14s, while on bars she received a low-14 for her routine featuring a Komova II to clear hip, a Galante to pak, a van Leeuwen and a stuck full twisting double layout dismount. Moving next to beam she showed a difficult routine that included a front pike mount, a front tuck, a handstand to BHS to layout series, a switch to switch half, a switch ring and a stuck double tuck dismount to post in the high-13s, before finishing on floor where her low difficulty (4.9 D-score) together with out-of-bounds steps on her full-in and double pike tumbles kept her score in the high-12s, despite hitting her front full with just a small step forward and her double tuck dismount with a hop back. After dealing with injury for most of her first year as a senior gymnast and missing the Rio Olympic Games, Mélanie is now back into action and has had great success in the past few months. Hopefully she will continue to improve and will be even better by the time Worlds rolls around so she can once again challenge for finals and even for some of the medals. I also must say I am personally very proud of her and it’s just amazing to see the daughter of Portuguese emigrants achieve such a great result among the best in Europe.
Despite being hyped as the next big star of the Russian program, Elena Eremina was unable to deliver in this final and finished fourth with a score of 54.266 after falling on her beam mount. In fifth place was Kim Bui of Germany with 53.499 hitting most of her events but having an unusually messy pak on bars and a somewhat wobbly beam routine. Martina Maggio of Italy was sixth with 53.199, Nina Derwael of Belgium was seventh with 52.832 after some issues on beam and bars and Filipa Martins of Portugal was eighth also with 52.832, having a great comeback from her ankle surgery just a few months ago. I would like to point out this was a very diverse top 8 with all gymnasts from different countries, showing gymnastics is no longer the monopoly of some nations with others only occasionally making it to the higher rankings but rather a widespread sport with multiple countries reaching a very high level and challenging for medals.
Outside of this top 8 was fan favorite Dutch gymnast Eythora Thorsdottir who was one of the contenders for the title before this competition and actually qualified in fifth place for this final. When the time came, though, she had falls on bars and beam, as well as some issues on her floor routine, finishing in twelfth place with 51.965, about two and a half points behind her qualifications score.
Notably absent from this final was Germany’s Tabea Alt who qualified third and was also a front runner for the AA title but was forced to miss the final due to some sudden health issues. Her teammate Pauline Schaefer, who had been two-per-countried out during qualifications, was chosen to replace her and finished twentieth with 50.998 after a fall on bars and low landings on floor.
Also missing from this final was Russian Olympian Angelina Melnikova who finished qualifications in fifteenth but was outscored by her teammates Elena Eremina and Natalia Kapitonova and therefore didn’t make the final. She was also considered the next big hope for their program, especially during her first year as a senior in 2016, but hasn’t been able to take any breaks since the Rio Olympics and this lack of rest has taken its toll on her, causing her to have falls and mistakes on every single competition she’s been too. She’s now resting for a few days at home but should be back at Round Lake next week so she will not have her much desired rest any time soon.
Just like with the men, this was the first big competition in this new Olympic cycle and under the new code of points so gaining experience and confidence is way more important than the actual results. Still, many gymnasts managed to show great skill level and should only continue to improve as we progress along the season. Also, I was very pleased with the level of diversity among the competitors and to see some smaller programs land on the podium, showing multiple countries are now reaching a competitive level internationally in the sport. Hopefully things will continue to move down this path, making for even more interesting gymnastics competitions.
Full results here.