Gymnastic charge: Russia defeated rivals at the European Championship

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The tournament in Basel turned out to be triumphant for the Russian national artistic gymnastics team. Our athletes have won almost a dozen and a half awards, including the most prestigious – in the absolute all-around. The best here were Victoria Listunova and Nikita Nagorny, and the second places were taken by Angelina Melnikova and David Belyavsky, respectively. At the moment, Russian gymnasts are by far the best on the continent. And a few months before the start of the Tokyo Games, this is good news.

Breakthrough by Listunova

In general, for gymnasts this is already the second European Championship in six months – an unprecedented story. The COVID-19 pandemic is to blame. Because of her, the tournament for 2020 was first moved from spring to December, and then the location was changed – Turkish Mersin instead of Paris. However, most of the leading countries, including Russia, decided to ignore the championship. Moreover, in the process of all the transfers, he lost the status of the Olympic qualifying tournament.

So the European Championship in Basel is the first serious test of strength in two years. And it is very gratifying that during this period we have definitely not lost our positions, but have even strengthened somewhere. So, for the first time, 15-year-old Victoria Listunova became the absolute champion of the continent.

“I liked very much that our young girls were not taken aback at the big start and showed their best side,” two-time Olympic champion Aliya Mustafina told Izvestia. – Offensive mistakes were made in the all-around by Gel Melnikova. But if you remove them, then her program looks even somewhat stronger than that of the young. Now it is difficult to say how competitive all this is at the global level, because we have not seen the same American women for a long time due to the pandemic. But Geli has very good programs. In the time remaining before Tokyo, if it is possible to change something, then it is minimal. And so, you need to develop the quality of performance to automatism.

Nagorny – in history …

He distinguished himself at the European Championship and Nikita Nagorny is the most popular gymnast in our team. He not only won two golds, but also for the first time performed a fundamentally new element – a triple back bend somersault. Together with this element, its combination on floor exercises is by far the most difficult in the world. And although it is difficult to judge the shape of rivals from overseas now, Nagorny is one of the clear favorites of the Tokyo Olympics.

“The element that Nikita performed is super complicated,” former captain of the Russian national team Emin Garibov explained to Izvestia. – Even the usual triple somersault is now performed by three people in the world. And to make the same element bent over is many times more difficult, it can be seen with the naked eye. They need a fundamentally more powerful repulsion force, an amplitude … Nikita is in good condition today, but at the same time there is a feeling that he lacks competitive practice. By the end of the fourth day, he was visibly tired.

But it is definitely not worth deluding ourselves with the results of the European Championship. If only because two main stars did not appear on it – the Frenchwoman Melanie de Jesus dos Santos and the Romanian Larisa Iordache. The first was the reigning undisputed European champion, but due to injury she performed only in certain forms. There she took gold on the balance beam – despite the fact that the Russians did not make it to the final of this exercise at all. And this is definitely an alarming symptom. Especially for the look that was once our trademark.

And strong Asians – Chinese and Japanese, plus Americans – will also be added to the Olympics. But our team must also strengthen – one of our best gymnasts, Artur Dalaloyan, at the last moment could not go to Basel due to an Achilles injury.

“Judging by the nature of the injury, they will try to restore Dalaloyan directly to the Olympic Games,” continued Emin Garibov. – And this is fundamentally important, since it will be extremely difficult for us in team competitions without Arthur. He covered almost all the shells in the team. The most difficult thing for him now will be to restore his freestyle and jump, where there is a large shock load on his legs. But if you manage to perform at least on the remaining four shells, it will already be good.

… and German women – in new costumes

An interesting feature of this European Championship is that some German gymnasts performed in overalls, which are accepted in rhythmic gymnastics. This was done in protest against another wave of sex scandals. Indeed, right on the eve of the Basel tournament, athletes from Greece made shocking confessions about bullying by coaches.

The German women, wearing overalls, wanted to show that gymnasts should not be seen as sexual objects. True, it is not very clear how convenient it is to perform the most complex elements in such costumes.

“It is important that the overalls are allowed by the rules,” stressed Aliya Mustafina. – So the Germans did not violate anything. I myself have never performed in such a suit, so I cannot say how comfortable it is. It seems to me that it is in the sense of tailoring that making a comfortable jumpsuit is much more difficult than a swimsuit. But let’s see how this story develops …

We add that the UK team took the second place in the overall standings – one gold, one silver and 4 bronzes. Switzerland closed the top three (1 – 1 – 1).