The first European Games is well underway, with the first round of gymnastics competition in the books. The event was headlined with the reigning 2015European All-around Champion, Switzerland’s Giulia Steingruber. Joining her were Russia’s returning star gymnasts, Aliya Mustafina and Viktoria Komova and 2014 Youth Olympic Games All-around Champion, Seda Tutkhalyan.
The format at these games differs slightly from the average gymnastics competition. Qualifications were held over two days, with every country competing on vault and bars on day one and beam and floor on day two. Only one gymnast per country was able to qualify on to the individual event and all-around finals. The qualifications also served as the team competition. Each country fielded up to three gymnasts on each event, and the top two event scores determined the team medals.
Russia easily clinched the team gold, winning with a 6.5 margin. Germany just squeaked out the silver. The Netherlands took bronze.
A healthy Mustafina showed some of her former glory, qualifying first into the all-around. Her Russian teammates, Tutkhalyan and Komova came in second and third, but were unable to move on to the finals due to the one per country rule. Steingruber qualified in second and Germany’s Sophie Scheder qualified in third.
As one of the top European vaulters, it is no surprise that Steingruber led the vault qualifications. Tutkihalyan qualified in second, bringing power and spunk that were surprising for the tiny 15-year-old. Lisa Top of the Netherlands came in third.
Mustafina qualified first on bars, with a beautifully performed routine out of a 6.5 difficulty score. Scheder and teammate Elisabeth Seitz tied for second, however the execution score tie-breaker went to Scheder. Only Scheder will move on to event finals. Komova and Tutkhalyan came in fourth and sixth respectively, but will also not move on to finals. Noemi Makra of Hungary qualified in third.
Tutkhalyan just edged out Mustafina to qualify in first and move on to her second event finals with a 6.3 start value on beam. She did two stunning acrobatic combinations, a roundoff layout and a roundoff layout full to clinch her spot. Steingruber qualified in second followed by Komova who came in fourth, but along with Mustafina, will not move on to the finals. Scheder qualfied in third.
Mustafina qualified into her second event finals, leading the pack on floor with a 6.1 difficulty score. She opened with a beautiful double layout and her routine included many difficult turns. Silvia Zarzu of Romania qualified in second followed by Lieke Wevers of the Netherlands. Laura Jurca of Romania came in fourth and Gaelle Mys of Belgium came in eighth, but will not move on to the finals.
Full results, schedules and athlete bios can be found on the Baku 2015 website. The all-around finals will be held on Thursday, June 20 at 8:30am EST. Individual event finals will start at 7:30am EST on Saturday, June 20. Many events are being livestreamed from the Games youtube site.
Opening ceremonies for this inaugural event, held in Baku, Azerbaijani kicked off the games on Friday, June 12, and they will run through June 20, with the gymnastics competitions being held June 14-20. The games will play host to competition in many different sports, with over 6,000 athletes. Competitors will be representing the 50 countries of Europe with National Olympic Committees.