The 2016 Elite Gym Massilia competition took place from November 11th-13th 2016 in Marseille, France.

This competition was open to young, up and coming gymnasts, up and coming elite gymnasts and experienced elites.

The up and coming gymnasts were split into birth year categories. For example the gymnasts born in 2007 were all in one category and competed against each other for the title.

There was also an open category, open to elite gymnasts. Gymnasts entering the Open Massilia could represent their club or some were sent by their federation to compete. The Open Massilia was comprised of a team competition, for those who brought a team, for example, many clubs from Canada brought a large number of gymnasts. The Open Massilia also offered an individual all-around competition which was qualification for the event finals on Sunday.

Irina Alexeeva of WOGA, the only American representative at this meet topped the Open Massilia AA podium with a 57.100, the highest AA score of the weekend in all of the categories. Alexeeva, who has been on the radar of gymnastics fans for a few years now really made her big debut this year, winning the junior AA at the Secret U.S. Classic. Alexeeva had always planned to compete for Russia internationally even after to moving to the U.S. to train at WOGA and competing in the J.O. system, following her coach from Russia after she began coaching at the famous Texas gym. After it was decided that Alexeeva could not compete for Russia, given that she is not training at Round Lake, Alexeeva has now presumably decided to compete for the U.S. However, due to the fact that Irina only has a green card and not full citizenship, she was unable to compete at the P&G Championships this Summer and qualify to the National Team. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for this gymnast. With Valeri Liukin now at the helm of the U.S. women’s programme, I am sure an arrangement can be made to ensure Irina can compete for the U.S., should she so wish. But also it is interesting that she is competing at this meet, alongside Russian Olympians and the future Russian stars, Elena Eremina and Anastasia Iliankova. Given the Russian team always sends gymnasts to this meet it is interesting to see Irina here too, and this is not the first time she has competed here.

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Irina Alexeeva of WOGA

And what is also interesting is that should Irina have competed head on with the Russian gymnasts at this meet, she would have topped the podium in the Masters portion of the competition also.

The Masters portion of the competition was originally comprised of 4 teams, representing their country. France, Great Britain, Russia and Australia sent teams. Scoring a 57.100 AA, Alexeeva would have beaten the Masters champion and 2016 European Junior UB & BB champion, Anastasia Iliankova by .550. Iliankova scored a 56.550 AA, followed by her Russian teammate and 2016 European junior AA champion, Elena Eremina who took the silver with a score of 55.250. Melanie De Jesus Dos Santos of France took the bronze with a 54.450. It will be interesting to see what happens with the Alexeeva situation, given that Alexeeva is outscoring Russia’s top juniors and America’s top juniors.

The all-around in both Masters Massilia and Open Massilia was not separated by age and therefore junior and senior gymnasts competed against each other.

A disappointing BB score of 10.400 dropped Olympic silver medalist, Seda Tutkhalian of Russia into 13th AA after falling twice and only completing a roundoff layout (which started out piked) as a dismount. Olympic silver medalist and World Uneven Bars Champion, Daria Spiridonova also had trouble and ended in 6th AA after having a disappointing score of 13.900 on UB.

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Seda Tutkhalian after UB dismount in Rio

Some teams and gymnasts who competed in Open Massilia were invited to compete in the Masters Massilia portion of the competition based on their results in the Open category. Alexeeva, whilst offered did not compete in the Masters portion. Teams like W.A.I.S of Australia competed in both the Masters and Open portions of the competition.

Event finals combined gymnasts from both Open Massilia and Masters Massilia. Gymnasts qualified for the event finals during the AA and Team competition.

On VT, Colline Devillard of France took the title, followed by Elena Eremina of Russia and Naomi Lee of Australia.

Irina Alexxeva topped the UB podium followed by Russia’s Iliankova who took silver and France’s Alison Lepin who took bronze.

On BB there was a big win for Melanie De Jesus Dos Santos of France who also took the bronze medal AA in Masters Massilia on the first day of competition. The silver medal on BB went to Anastasia Iliankova and the bronze went to Alexeeva.

On the FX, Anastasia Iliankova took the top spot followed by Great Britain’s Taeja James and Victoria Jurca of Canada.

The results of the competition are as follows:

MASTERS TEAM:

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MASTERS AA:

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OPEN TEAM:

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OPEN AA:

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EVENT FINALS: (Combines gymnasts from both Open Massilia and Masters Massilia)

VAULT:

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UNEVEN BARS:

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BALANCE BEAM:

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FLOOR EXERCISE:

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