After sweeping gold on all four events, Ana Barbosu has dominated the conversation about the event finals at the 2020 Junior European Championships. She deserved to. She looked fantastic, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the rest of her career. But I’d like to take a minute to highlight five other lovely pieces of gymnastics we saw at Junior Euros.
Georgieva Valentina’s solid, powerful vaults
Valentia (BUL) took the silver medal in the vault final with a Yurchenko full and a Yurchenko 1.5. The difficulty may be nothing to write home about, but her vaulting had more power and maturity than any other in the final. She showed exactly what I look for in junior gymnastics - solid technique that makes the skills look easy. I hope she’s working on a second entry so that we can continue to see her in vault finals as a senior.
Daniela Batrona’s inbars
Okay, she fell on her inbar. But before she fell, her inbar was a pointed-toe, deep-pike thing of beauty. This is clearly a gymnast who doesn’t sacrifice form for the sake of something silly like staying on the bar. In training videos her inbars are equally lovely, and I look forward to seeing more of them in the future.
All five gymnasts who mounted with a front flip onto the beam
What a final. After two quads of basic mounts and ample time for the scars fo the Beijing team final to heal over, I am thrilled to say that Real Mounts are back. Five — that’s right, five gymnasts in this final flipped onto the beam. We were treated to front tucks from Ana Barbosu (ROU), Yulia Kasianenko (UKR), Seygi Kayisoglu (TUR), and Daria Lyska (UKR) as well as a front pike from Greta Mayer (HUN). And, just saying, the skill we see from juniors tend to be only the foundation for the skills we’ll see when they are seniors. If these gymnasts can all do front tucks now, who knows what sort of mounts are in store next quad?
Greta Mayer’s full turn
Yes, in a review of the junior competition at a less-than-fully-attended Euros, a full turn has a place on my list of top five moments. But what a turn it was! With confidence and flare, silver medalist Mayer (HUN) stood on one leg and initiated the turn in that position. I’m sure there’s a dance word that properly describes this technique but unfortunately I don’t know what it is— dancers, I’m sure you’ll @ me soon enough. Mayer also did a killer floor routine, with a controlled, fully-rotated straddle full and an ambitious double front. I can't wait to see more of her.
Nela Stepandova almost sticking her double tuck in time to the music
Stepandova (CZE) wins my award for “least deserving of a background music deduction” in the final — it’s almost as if she really enjoys moving to this song or something like that! She manages to salute to the beat after every pass, but my favorite moment is when she manages to land a nice, knees-together double tuck in time to the music.
Got a favorite European junior who I missed? Comment below!