The 2016 City of Jesolo Trophy took place over the weekend, March 19th through 20th 2016. In a significant stepping stone towards the 2016 Olympic Games, the USA, Italy, Brazil & France sent senior teams whilst Canada, Italy, USA, Slovenia, Finland and Germany sent junior gymnasts to battle for individual titles.
The USA easily took the team title, whilst Brazil came in second, over 10 points behind the USA. Italy earned the bronze medal and France came in 4th.
In the senior AA, Gabrielle Douglas took top honours with a score of 59.650. Douglas had an extremely clean competition, displaying nothing out of the ordinary, landing her standing full on BB without a single wobble and maximising her E score on her DTY and scoring a 15.300, higher than MyKayla Skinner scored on her Amanar during the AA competition.
Ms. Ragan Smith was hot on the heels of the Olympic AA Champion, earning the silver medal with an AA score of 59.050, even though she was competing as an individual and not as part of Team USA. Ragan, in her senior debut wowed the gymnastics community with an extremely solid BB routine, scoring a 15.100, even with a downgraded dismount from a Patterson to a double pike. Her new FX had the audience eating out of the palm of her hand, dancing to the theme tune of the Addams Family, Ragan was as cute as ever, making everyone question…is she really a senior!? However she combined the cute factor and well choreographed routine with amazing tumbling, opening with a huge DLO to score a 14.500.
Another junior that has made the seamless transition from the junior to the senior ranks is Lauren Hernandez who placed 3rd AA and who made the gymnastics community’s head pulsate, along with Ragan Smith at the depth of the US field and how difficult it is going to be to decide on 5 members of an Olympic team. Lauren had a good competition, scoring a massive 15.300 on BB and 15.100 on VT, however faultered slightly on UB, scoring a 13.800.
Flavia Saraiva of Brazil prevented a USA sweep of the top 6, placing 4th and wowing on the BB and truly showing what she is made of. We have watched Flavia since she was an impressive junior and the gymnastics community collectively sighed when she crumbled slightly at last years World Championships. However, with gold medals at the Baku World Challenge Cup in February, Flavia has had a great 2016 thus far and continued to impress this weekend in Jesolo.
Notable to mention is also Aly Raisman who placed 6th AA with a 57.850. Whilst this competition had many questioning Aly’s spot on an Olympic team, and rightly so, it must be noted that Aly sat down her VT. Aly attempted her Amanar, however, had she performed a clean DTY, she would have increased her score by 1 point and probably even more. In that case she would have place 3rd AA or maybe even 2nd and no one would be questioning her spot. Whilst, yes, both Laurie and Ragan did outscore her on BB, one of her key events for the team, I believe she still in most definitely in the running, she won FX in the event final and in the big picture, she has bundles of experience that the new seniors do not have. As history has proven, Martha favours experience, she likes to know she can count on a gymnast and if there’s anyone she can count on it’s Reliable Raisman!
Another standout gymnast was Emily Schild who almost morphed into a replica of Everest teammate, Ashton Locklear, complete with Ashton’s hairstyle, a full face of makeup (goodbye baby-faced Emily!) and a bar routine almost identical to Ashton’s which scored a massive 15.000 in the AA competition, making her case for an Olympic spot, if not an Olympic Trials spot at least!
In event finals, the seniors, oddly did not have to perform two vaults and so we witnessed a USA sweep of the podium with MyKayla Skinner earning a 15.200 for her Amanar to take the gold. Lauren Hernandez took the silver with a clean DTY and Emily Schild took the bronze as a replacement for Gabby Douglas with a 14.400.
Loan His of France prevented a USA sweep on the UB, where she took the bronze medal behind Gabby Douglas and Ashton Locklear who scored a huge 15.250 to take the gold, significantly lower than her 15.650 during the AA competition, as were all of the UB scores.
The senior BB was another USA podium sweep with Lauren Hernandez winning the gold with an absolutely beautiful routine, scoring a 15.250. Ragan Smith earned silver, just .5o behind Hernandez whilst Aly Raisman took the bronze with a score of 14.750. Flavia Saraiva of Brazil who qualified in joint 3rd with Aly Raisman, faultered slightly in finals, missing a connection and having a few wobbles, placed in 5th, behind France’s Marine Boyer. Carlotta Ferlto of Italy finished in 8th after a scary fall on her double pike dismount. As Carlotta prepared to dismount, she missed one foot on her takeoff and landing dangerously with her head hitting the mat first, immediately screaming out in pain, unable to move and looking as though she injured her neck. Ferlito was immediately tended to by medical staff and taken for an MRI. It was reported that the MRI was negative for anything unusual and she has now returned home with her family. It was a horrific fall and we wish Carlotta all the best as she returns home.
Aly Raisman wowed on FX with a huge 15.050 to take the gold medal with Ragan Smith taking the silver and Gabby Douglas taking the bronze, dancing to Shakira, a routine to which the crowd responded to emphatically on day 1 of competition in Jesolo.
In the junior ranks, there was no team competition. In the AA competition however, USA were dominant and swept the podium, with Jordan Chiles coming back from a rough performance at L’International Gymnix earlier this month and winning gold, helped along significntly by her huge 15.700 on VT. Emma Malabuyo, who, to me, has been the standout of both this competition and L’International Gymnix amongst the juniors took home the silver medal in the AA with a score of 56.150. Great across the board, Emma, to me is something special. She reminds me of a young Kyla Ross. She remains calm in competition, making sure to maximise her score with stuck landings and excellent execution, she dances beautifully on FX, displaying charisma and great tumbling in an excellently choreographed routine. Her BB is calm and collected and she has a wonderful line on UB. She most certainly is one to watch in the future and will definitely continue to get international assignments in the future as she is just completely reliable, always hitting her routines as those around her crumble. Gabby Perea took the bronze medal with a 55.750, also an up and comer, having won the AA at L’International Gymnix at the beginning of March.
In event finals, the juniors, unlike the seniors had to perform two vaults, Jordan Chiles, with a massive Amanar and an excellent DTY scored an average of 15.575 to take the gold. Silver went to Martina Maggio of Italy, who had an excellent day, taking home 3 medals and bronze went to Jade Chrobok of Canada who managed to, along with her fellow medal holders escape the junior VT curse, that made this event final into a splat fest, with the majority of gymnasts falling on one, if not two of their vaults.
Junior Uneven Bars witnessed another USA sweep with Gabby Perea taking top honours and Emma Malabuyo and Jordan Chiles tying for second with a 14.350.
Balance Beam, bucked the trend of the USA sweep, with two of the USA juniors, Jordan Chiles and Gabby Perea having slight trouble and falling during their routines. However Emma Malabuyo, steady as ever, represented on the podium, taking home the gold medal. Martina Maggio of Italy, had a great routine to take silver and Helene Schafer, sister of 2015 World Championships BB bronze medalist, Pauline Schafer took home bronze also on the BB.
On FX, Trinity Thomas in her international debut took the gold medal, displaying an absolutely lovely routine complete with tremendous power, opening with a huge DLO and continuing on with a gorgeous triple twist and combining this power with exqiusite dance, using her long, lean legs to her advantage. Emma Malabuyo with one of my all time favourite routines took the silver medal whist the standout of the Italian juniors, Martina Maggio displayed a spunky FX routine to take the bronze medal.
Overall, whilst there was an abundance of fantastic gymnastics on display, the story of the weekend was the US team, who swept the medals across the board and made the gymnastics community even more confused than they already were about who will be picked for the US Olympic team.
Full results are as follows: