The 2019 European Championships held in Szczecin, Poland had an incredibly exciting vault final featuring Ellie Downie of Great Britain, who finished first in qualifications and won the silver in the all-around final on Friday, and Maria Paseka of Russia, who has been performing difficult and risky vaults throughout this season and her entire career, coming in as the leading favorites.

Angelina Melnikova of Russia, the reigning European bronze medalist on this event, began the competition with a sold Yurchenko double full vault. Her leg form was a bit loose throughout the vault and culminated in an uncontrolled hop back. Her second vault, the Lopez, was much cleaner with a smaller hop. Melnikova finished with a score of 14.133.

Angelina Melnikova performs on the floor exercise at the European Championships in Szczecin, Poland/Sports Gym Russia

Next came Paseka, who fell on her first vault, the Cheng, in qualifications, and came back eager to improve. Paseka was early off the table which culminated in crazy leg form throughout the vault causing her to stumble to get to stay on her feet, which she managed to do. She came back hungry on her next vault, the Amanar, which she stuck cold. Her leg form will need to be cleaned up a bit, but the landing was textbook and helped secure the gold medal. Paseka’s score was a 14.516 despite the errors on her first vault.

Denisa Golgata of Romania performed a clean Yurchenko double full, as well as a Tsuk full. Both of these were clean vaults, but due to the low difficulty of her second vault, her score of 14.166 did not last as a podium contender.

Sara Peter of Hungary proved to be in a similar situation with a strong Yurchenko double full followed by a simple front handspring front layout half to score an average of 14.066. Teja Belak of Slovenia struggled through both her front handspring front layout full and her Yurchenko one-and-a-half as she fell on both skills.

First-year senior Asia D’Amato of Italy put forward one of the most powerful Yurchenko double fulls of the competition, but struggled on the landing with a criss-crossed step back. Her second vault, the Lopez, was beautiful and floaty, which allowed her to flare out of the twist to score an average of 14.233.

Coline Devillard of France performed an extremely powerful front handspring Rudi, with a shuffled step backwards. Her Yurchenko double full was the cleanest one of the competition with great distance. Unfortunately, her hands were a little crooked on the table which caused a small step and an out of bounds landing. Her averaged score was a 14.450.

Downie finished out the meet with a great Yurchenko double full, with a relatively large hop backwards. Her Lopez was great with a flared ending, and the biggest deduction being a hop on the landing. She averaged a 14.316 to snag the bronze medal.

Devillard finished with the silver, and Maria Paseka won the title. Coline’s score was 0.066 points behind Paseka, which proves that the risk of the difficult vaults paid off in this competition for Paseka, despite the execution errors.

The European uneven bars final was an excellent battle with many clean and difficult performances. Jonna Adlerteg of Sweden performed beautifully with strong handstands, a powerful Shaposh connected into a Bhardwaj. Her only major form error was a bit of leg separation on a pirouette into a tkatchev. She finished the routine with a beautiful double layout dismount! Lorette Charpy of France, hit a solid routine, however a few short handstands and releases cought short knocked down her execution score.

Alice D’Amato came in and hit a clean, stunning routine which was highlighted by a floaty ricna connected to a pak salto connected to a chow half. An almost stuck double front half out dismount earned Alice the bronze medal with a score of 14.4.

European all-around champion Melanie De Jesus Dos Santos arched a handstand over towards the beginning of the routine, but was able to pull it back in. Her routine’s highlight comes from her pristine lines and leg extension throughout.

Melnikova connected numerous difficult releases in a fast paced routine. Her inbar skills raised her execution score and allowed for a 14.533 to earn a silver medal.

Anastasiya Alistrava had a few short handstands on the low bar to begin the routine but her beautiful form and difficult in-bars allowed her to raise her score and finish in fourth! Sanna Veerman struggled to connect a skill out of her pak salto and flew off the bar. Still, she finished the routine strong with a full in dismount.

Anastasia Iliankova competes on the uneven bars for Russia at the 2017 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Montreal, Canada/The Gymternet

Anastasia Iliankova of Russia performed a great routine with strong handstands, and long extensions. Her Tweedle connected to Ezhova showed her elegance and power on this event. She nearly stuck her full in dismount to earn a score of 14.833 and a gold medal, the second European title of the opening day of event finals for Russia.

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