The Downie Sisters
It is common that siblings choose to do gymnastics together in the early years of their lives; however it is rare that both get to the senior elite level and even rarer that they get to compete together at major competitions. But the Downie sisters have beaten all odds by competing together in Montpellier regardless of the 7 years difference between them. Also, despite the big age gap, the girls look so much alike that they could easily pass off as twins.
The girls made history in Montpellier by qualifying to the same final: bars. Two days later, Elissa Downie who was last year’s Junior European AA bronze medalist, turned her medal into a bronze one in the senior division.
An Argentinean representing Sweden.
One of the Swedish girls competing is actually from Argentina. Marcela Torres’ story is available in the swegymnastics Youtube Channel. She says she trained gymnastics for fun in her native Argentina and that she moved to Sweden to be with her boyfriend three years ago when she was 23. Today, at 26, she was selected to represent Sweden at the European Championships and was 3rd reserve for the vault final.
Truly sad news
On a really sad note, Kristina Pravdina’s (2006 and 2007 Russian World Team Member) father and coach, Aleksandr Pravdin, passed away suddenly on April 4th from a heart attack. He was only 45. Ten days later Kristina (who now represents Azerbaijan) was training and competing in Montpellier. Our admiration for her. The loss of Aleksandr Pravdin, is not only a tragedy for Kristina and her mom Nina, but also a big blow for Azerbaijan’s Gymnastics Federation as Aleksandr was Head Coach of the National Team of Azerbaijan. The country is set to host the first ever European Games in just three months.
Montpellier turned out to be a tough time for both Kristina and the WAG Azerbaijan Team. The day before the competition started Anna Pavlova withdrew with shoulder injury and in the qualification round Kristina injured herself on her first skill in her first apparatus, an Arabian on beam, and scratched from the rest of the competition.
Giulia Steingruber’s win
Giulia Steingruber had the most difficult program of all the all-around competitors and the only reason she qualified second (by a 0.731 difference) was because she fell off the beam. She had a 0.6 advantage over Kharenkova in D-score during the AA final and won by a 0.741 difference.Giulia Steingruber on beam at the AA final:
Elissa Downie was the only new senior (1999 born) to win a medal. The oldest competitor in the apparatus finals was Vasilliki Millousi who, at 31, was one landing away of a bronze on beam. She finished fifth after falling on her double pike dismount.
Our newly crowned European all-around champion is 21 years old. Fifteen years ago when Europeans were hosted in Paris, another 21 year old won the all-round title. Her name was Svetlana Khorkina.
Out of 11 individual medallists, 4 were older than 20 years old: Sanne Wevers (23), Ksenia Afanasyeva (23), Rebecca Downie (23) and Giulia Steingruber (21)
The “turns girl” Sanne Wevers turning heads with a clean routine in the bars final:
Interesting Fact #6: Medal Statistics
The most decorated team of the Championships was Russia with 5 medals: 3 golds (VT, UB, FX) 1 silver (AA) and 1 bronze (VT).
The second most powerful country was Great Britain with four medals: 3 silvers (UB, BB, FX) and 1 bronze (AA).
The most decorated gymnast was Giulia Steingruber with 3 medals, one of each color. AA gold, VT silver, and FX bronze.
Elissa Downie’s bronze medal was the first ever for Great Britain in the AA.
Sanne Wevers win in the bars final is the second medal ever for the Netherlands on this apparatus. Back in 2002 Renske Endel won silver.
Giulia Steingruber’s gold was the first ever title for Switzerland in the all-around, and only the second medal in the AA. Back in 2009 Ariella Kaeslin won bronze behind the Ksenias (Semenova, Afanasyeva) who made the 1-2.
When Euros are hosted by France… France wins a medal.
Clare Martin’s win is more admirable because she was the last to go in a final that had seen half the finalists fall giving her a relatively wide margin to sneak into the podium. Any gymnast under that circumstance would be under a lot of pressure but Claire’s situation was even more stressful than that because she knew she was the last chance to give her home-audience a medal. Even more pressure was added because a historic look indicated all the previous times France had hosted Euros they had won a medal. So this final was most likely the hardest test in Claire’s career and she responded like a true champion by not only winning the bronze but also having the highest E-score of all the competitors.
Claire’s win is also the second medal France has ever won on beam. Back in 2005 Marine Debauve won silver in the apparatus.
Claire making her country proud:
Article by: Isabel Iz
Photo cover: UEG on Facebook