Play-By-Plays

2019 Grand Prix Moscow Play-by-Play/Results: Apparatus Finals

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Hoop final:

Kaho Minagawa, Japan: Sheer, floating-on-clouds elegance is what we’ve come to expect from Kaho Minagawa over the years, and she delivers! Her new hoop routine is a symphony of softness and light. Beautiful. 19.4.

Anastasia Salos, Belarus: Loses the hoop briefly twice during a folksy, Spanish guitarified version of Vivaldi’s “Spring”. A bit overexcited after her fifth place AA finish yesterday, perhaps. You can’t win ‘em all. 18.0.

Neviana Vladinova, Bulgaria: High drama with the music and very quick work with the hoop. A couple of awkward moments in this performance, though. Neviana looks a tad sheepish saluting the judges. 18.35.

Salome Pazhava, Georgia: Nobody does theatricality better. This new routine to Woodkid’s “Run Boy Run” is a winner. Finishes a little behind the music, but nobody but the judges will care. 19.3.

Dina Averina, Russia: And the crowd goes wild! People have been commenting all week on the improved quality of her execution, and it’s evident in this jazzy new routine. Perhaps the tricks are always going to take precedence with the Averina twins, but you can’t deny the difficulty or the quality of this set. 21.8.

Arina Averina, Russia: “Don Quixote” this year for Arina with the hoop. Like her twin, execution-wise she’s improved greatly during the past few months. Not a perfect routine -- had to improvise in two places, it seemed -- but a nice one all the same. 21.45.

Nicol Voronkov, Israel: Had an excellent routine going until the last 20 seconds when she overcast a throw that she had to chase out of bounds, then dropped the hoop. The first 70 seconds were terrific, however. 16.25.

Yuliana Telegina, Israel: Sleek, dramatic routine, well done. Does not suffer the same misfortunes as her teammate. 18.25.

Results:

GOLD - Dina Averina, RUS
SILVER - Arina Averina, RUS
BRONZE - Kaho Minagawa, JPN
4. Salome Pazhava, GEO
5. Neviana Vladinova, BUL
6. Yuliana Telegina, ISR
7. Anastasia Salos, BLR
8. Nicol Voronkov, ISR

Ball:

Anastasia Salos, Belarus: Spends the second half of the routine chasing the ball around the carpet. Oh dear...having some trouble controlling her difficulty today. 13.4.

Sabina Tashkenbaeva, Uzbekistan: Pretty work but several control errors in this routine to Pink Martini’s “Let’s Never Stop Falling in Love.” 14.8.

Rebecca Gergalo, Finland: Most gymnasts opt for soft and pretty with the ball, but Gergalo goes for a far more aggressive, sultry approach to “You Can Leave Your Hat On.” Best routine so far. 17.85.

Nicol Voronkov, Israel: Beautiful routine from a gymnast developing a style all her own. Much better than her effort with the hoop. 18.05.

Kaho Minagawa, Japan: More signature loveliness. Too bad about losing the ball on her very first element. 17.85.

Neviana Vladinova, Bulgaria: “In the Army Now” -- her one holdover from 2018. A thoroughly enjoyable, highly entertaining routine, punctuated by Vladinova’s quick acrobatics and showmanship. 19.6.

Ekaterina Selezneva, Russia: A big moment for her if she can manage to hold her opening pose. (Takes two tries -- granted, her leg is above her head and the ball is perched on her foot. And she’s on tiptoe.) That done, she delivers an enchanting routine. A gymnast to watch. 20.23.

Dina Averina, Russia: More magic from Dina on an event that’s proven to be her most artistic apparatus. After last year’s Stravinsky, this year’s effort is less in-your-face but no less lovely. 21.0.

GOLD - Dina Averina, RUS
SILVER - Ekaterina Selezneva, RUS
BRONZE - Neviana Vladinova, BUL
4. Nicol Voronkov, ISR
5. Kaho Minagawa, JPN
6. Rebecca Gergalo, FIN
7. Sabina Tashkenbaeva, UZB
8. Anastasia Salos, BLR

Clubs:

Aleksandra Soldatova, Russia: One thing about Soldatova is that unlike some of the others, she’s not too adept at covering up her errors -- when she makes one, as she did on her first backspin, it’s obvious. Not her best effort, perhaps, but the judges reward it with 19.7 all the same.

Neviana Vladinova, Bulgaria: Two dropped clubs in this routine, but this fast-paced Spanish number has so much potential! Everyone’s been performing so well that it’s hard to remember it’s February. 17.45.

Nicol Voronkov, Israel: Another very capable set from Voronkov, 11th in the AA yesterday. 18.45.

Kaho Minagawa, Japan: With “McCavity” from Cats, Kaho goes cabaret. 18.4.

Ekaterina Vedeneeva, Slovenia: The former Russian national team member returns to Moscow to show off her Russian training. Enjoyable performance for 16.7.

Anastasia Salos, Belarus: Several drops in this routine to “Rebel Just For Kicks.” It’s really not her day. 14.3.

Dina Averina, Russia: Seven routines in, Dina finally makes a couple of palpable mistakes, but like at last year’s Worlds in this event, she has so much difficulty packed into this exercise it basically doesn’t matter. This routine, to Azerbaijani singer Arash’s “Temptation” (a nod to Worlds being in Baku this year), is most likely to become the her 2019 routine. 19.3.

Salome Pazhava, Georgia: Speaking of iconic routines, after two years as the Joker with the clubs, Pazhava has gone in an entirely different direction. Her new clubs set is to a melodic, almost melancholic duet to “California Dreaming” and it’s so smooth she almost seems to be ice skating rather than dancing on a carpet. Judges love it too: 19.2.

GOLD - Aleksandra Soldatova, RUS
SILVER - Dina Averina, RUS
BRONZE - Salome Pazhava, GEO
4. Nicol Voronkov, ISR
5. Kaho Minagawa, JPN
6. Neviana Vladinova, BUL
7. Ekaterina Selezneeva, SLO
8. Anastasia Salos, BLR

Ribbon:

Yuliana Telegina, Israel: A routine out of a fairy tale, right down to the rainbow ribbon. 16.8.

Salome Pazhava, Georgia: Classic Pazhava -- a wonderfully constructed routine pulled off with her special aplomb, but two drops of the apparatus.The day Pazhava puts it all together, as she did several times in 2015, the year she was fourth in the world in the all-around, will be a great day indeed. 14.55.

Arina Averina, Russia: Arina looks none too joyous after this dramatic, rather heavy piano piece with the ribbon, but the judges liked it. 20.3.

Anastasia Salos, Belarus: The most serious routine in Salos’s repertoire is also the one she’s performed best in her four finals today. Watching it is like fast-forwarding to the competitor she’ll be in a few years. 17.95.

Sabina Tashkenbaeva, Uzbekistan: A beat-driven ribbon routine closes out Tashkenbaeva’s day here. Essentially one drop. 16.4.

Kaho Minagawa, Japan: The apparatus best suited to her expression and movement, this routine (a holdover from last year) is as enchanting as ever. When she does it well, it’s transportive. Unfortunately this time there was a knot in the ribbon at the beginning and a drop toward the end. Even so, it barely detracted from the performance quality. 16.8.

Neviana Vladinova, Bulgaria: Dramatic presentation. 16.75.

Dina Averina, Russia: This new routine to “Une Vie d’Amour” by Charles Aznavour and Mireille Mathieu represents a big jump in elegance for Dina. Elegance is not something that has been associated with the Averina twins to this point, but it’s not something they’ve gone for much, either. As noted, Dina’s been making presentation strides. 19.45.

GOLD - Arina Averina, RUS
SILVER - Dina Averina, RUS
BRONZE - Anastasia Salos, BLR
4. Yuliana Telegina, ISR
4. Kaho Minagawa, JPN
6. Neviana Vladinova, BUL
7. Sabina Tashkenbaeva, UZB
8. Salome Pazhava, GEO

2019 Gazprom Cup Play-by-Play/Results: All-around

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Play-By-Play: Subdivision 3 - The heavy hitters

Neviana Vladinova, BUL, clubs: This is a routine that should serve Vladinova very well in the coming year. It has everything: fiery Spanish choreography and deeply interesting and original throws and catches. She biffs it at the end, kicking a club several yards away from her on a misfired back walkover throw, then hits her ending pose like nothing happened. 18.95.

Alina Chamzina, CZE, ball: Graceful work from the young Czech in white. Just one concentration error. 16.35.

Kaho Minagawa, JPN, ribbon: The last time we saw Kaho do this routine was in world finals, where she dropped the ribbon literally like seven times and scored sub-12. Thing is that when she does it well, it’s such a good piece. Here it was mediocre, thanks to a knot in the ribbon right before the big crescendo caused her to have to stop everything and fix it. Pity for that, but still better than it was in the Sofia finals, thank goodness. 16.0.

Nicol Voronkov, ISR, hoop: Casual greatness from one of Israel’s rising young stars here. Her work is so clean and precise it’s almost no-nonsense. A slip after a leap, but she carried on well. 17.75.

Seo Goeun, KOR, ball: Capable and pretty performance to a rendition of “California Dreaming.” The next Son Yeon Jae? 15.3.

Ekaterina Vedeneeva, SLO, hoop: So-so beginning for Vedeneeva as she has to reach far back on a catch to save it. 17.15.

Arina Averina, RUS, ball: Huge ovation from the pro-Russian, pro-Averina crowd here. Italian opera this year. Whoops! Ball gets away from her briefly after a leg throw. And twice more just before the end of her routine. Arina makes no attempt to hide her displeasure. 18.65.

Anastasia Salos, BLR, clubs: The promising young Belarusian continues to develop her own style, which in a word might be characterized as playful. Fun routine to “Rebel Just for Kicks.” 19.25.

Valerie Romenski, FRA, ribbon: Strong start for the young Frenchwoman whose music sounds like something from one of the castle levels in Super Mario World. 14.75.

Aleksandra Soldatova, RUS, hoop: Soldatova is concentrating really hard, and clutching the hoop with firm fingers. A good start for her, especially given that she appears to have improvised or taken out an element about a minute in (think Sofia World finals with the ribbon and you get an idea.) 21.3.

Salome Pazhava, GEO, hoop: A huge effort from the talented Pazhava with this new routine to Woodkid’s “Run Boy Run.” Technically quite sound, artistically enchanting. Finishes just behind the music. 20.2.

Sabina Tashkenbaeva, UZB, ribbon: Good start for Tashkenbaeva to Indian music. Intricate work throughout. 17.55.

Neviana Vladinova, BUL, ribbon: Pretty routine to “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World,” a song full of soul. Comes right after Alina Chamzina’s clubs performance to “Daddy Cool.” 17.95.

Kaho Minagawa, JPN, hoop: A soft, pretty exercise, classic Kaho. 19.2.

Ekaterina Vedeneeva, SLO, ball: Lovely classical work but a loss of the ball on a mastery 30 seconds before the end will deflate her score. 16.4.

Arina Averina, RUS, clubs: Russian folk music (and leotard) -- but drops the clubs twice in the first 30 seconds of her routine! One on a concentration error, one actually a hard skill. Arina looks less prepared than her twin so far, though this is the beginning of the season and Dina’s quite superhuman. 20.0.

Salome Pazhava, GEO, ball: Wonderful drama and expression, less wonderful control. You should get bonus points if you manage to make running after the ball that’s gotten away from you look like part of your choreography. A routine to watch to the end though: her final movements are lovely. 16.15.

Anastasia Salos, BLR, ribbon: Pretty work to a rather melancholic piece of music. One drop about 10 seconds into the routine, otherwise very good. 17.7.

Valerie Romenski, FRA, hoop: Lots of potential but a boatload of mistakes in this performance. It will be great when she puts it all together. This is going to be a low score though. 7.3.

Aleksandra Soldatova, RUS, ball: Soldatova is really at her best with a routine like this, which allows her to pour her soul and various emotional facial expressions out. Lovely work, plenty of backspins and needle scale pivots and such, but she lacks confidence in herself and occasionally bails on her big elements, improvising and hoping nobody notices. One drop. 19.0.

Salome Pazhava, GEO, clubs: Hard to top her “Joker” routine of the past two years, but Pazhava possibly does. This routine goes in a completely different, very soft direction, but it’s brilliant nonetheless. Passionate and infused with emotion, a new classic from rhythmic’s greatest chameleon. 18.6.

Dina Averina, RUS, clubs: In her quest for a third world title, Dina and her coaches have carefully and wisely chosen an Azerbaijani singer for her clubs routine. (Dina is best at clubs, and this year’s worlds will be held in Baku.) A fun, fast-paced, magical routine, filled with Dina’s signature difficulty. One tiny mistake that was hard to notice. Whatever. Bravo. 22.25.

Nicol Voronkov, ISR, clubs: Understated Spanish piece. Voronkov does everything right, but the routine lacks a bit of fire and soul. Still, 19.0.

Neviana Vladinova, BUL, hoop: Big, dramatic new routine for her here. Hoop gets away from her once. 19.15.

Anastastia Salos, BLR, hoop: A folksy, Flamenco version of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” if that makes sense. Salos has been given the moniker “Belarus’s Little Princess,” and this routine belies both her youth and charm. Well done. 21.35.

Arina Averina, RUS, ribbon: Very dramatic look from Arina for the second year in a row. Quite a departure from the fun folksy routine that made her world champion with the ribbon in 2017, but as with Dina, indicative of a new maturity in her work. 18.9.

Sabina Tashkenbaeva, UZB, hoop: Lovely work! A lyrical, flowing hoop routine for UZB’s bright new hope. 18.3.

Dina Averina, RUS, ribbon: An Averina twin’s first foray into really exquisite elegance, this piece to Charles Aznavour’s “Une Vie d’Amour” duet with Mireille Mathieu lands well, and opens up a whole new chapter in her artistic evolution. Lovely. 19.2.

Valerie Romenski, FRA, ball: A far, far better performance than she gave with the hoop, showcasing her potential. Music: “There Was a Boy” from Moulin Rouge. 15.65.

Salome Pazhava, GEO, ribbon: A return to her roots with this beautiful routine to Georgian folk music. The first 10 seconds are the best, but the whole thing is great. 18.3.

Dina Averina, RUS, hoop: A masterful new routine from one of the wizards of hoop. Orchestral and well-delivered. Dina thought so too, judging by the fist pump she gave at the end. 22.5.

Sabina Tashkenbaeva, UZB, ball: Stylish routine to Pink Martini’s “Let’s Never Stop Falling in Love,” her best performance of day, possibly. 17.55.

Kaho Minagawa, JPN, clubs: “McCavity” from Cats is Minagawa’s only departure from her soft signature style of her four routines this year. She does showbiz (complete with some clawing of the air) just as well as she does the lyrical stuff. Great routine. 18.6.

Arina Averina, RUS, hoop: Absolutely classic Russian work with the hoop to a big symphonic piece with huge throws and confident catches. Good for her. 22.4.

Anastasia Salos, BLR, ball: Though classically trained, there’s a lot of character and quirkiness in Salos’s movements and expressions, and I can’t help thinking that her choreographers have yet to find something that really fits her to a T -- and that she’s capable of a lot more edgy, avant-garde work than she’s showing. There are glimmers of it in this routine, but her whole artistic expression still feels like a work in progress, somehow. One thing is clear: she’s not going to be your typical rhythmic gymnast. 20.1.

Aleksandra Soldatova, RUS, ribbon: Starts with a smile, finishes with a very intense look. This routine is a departure from the soft style she showed last year in winning the world title with this apparatus. 18.4 is far off her mark, however.

Dina Averina, RUS, ball: Intriguing new routine for Dina, who performed a far more modern number to Stravinsky with this apparatus last year. This signals more of a return to her roots. 20.25.

Neviana Vladinova, BUL, ball: She’s kept her “In the Army Now” routine from 2018, a real-crowd pleaser. Terrific skills throughout, a well-placed pirouette sequence, and a stunner of an ending. What more could you want? 19.9.

Aleksandra Soldatova, RUS, clubs: No question, with this routine Soldatova makes it clear that she still belongs among the ranks of the Russian greats. A fast-paced, jazzy, blink-and-you’ll-miss something performance worthy of one of the country’s best. 18.4.

Subdivision 2:

Celia Joseph-Noel, FRA, hoop: A little out of control at times, but a most interesting senior debut from France’s most highly anticipated young rhythmic gymnast. 15.2.

Iasmina Agagulian, ARM, ball: Playful routine to “Summertime” from this young Armenian. 16.5.

Denisa Mailat, ROM, clubs: Bruno Mars! This young gymnast has great rhythm and stage presence but needs to work on her pirouettes.

Daria Trubnikova, RUS, hoop: Wearing a leotard that Kudryavetseva wore at the 2013 Worlds marks her out as one of the chosen ones. Gisele a very classical choice of music. Beautifully delivered but not particularly innovative choreography. Technically however, Trubnikova is very sound. 19.7.

Ekaterina Selezneva, RUS, hoop: Loses the hoop and makes a couple other little errors in this routine to Dario Marianelli’s “Rescue Me” in which she seems to be portraying love. 21.3 is a huge score given the mistake.

Viktoria Bogdanova, EST, hoop: One drop for the Estonian veteran. 15.8.

Daria Trubnikova, RUS, ball: Supreme elegance and even facial expressions to a wonderfully delivered “There Was A Boy” from Moulin Rouge.

Alina Adilkhankova, KAZ, hoop: Sends the hoop flying away from her during the first three seconds of what was otherwise a very nice routine to a yearning “I Will Survive.”

Ekaterina Selezneva, RUS, ball: Another difficulty packed exercise, and this one went decidedly better than her hoop performance. 20.7.

Rebecca Gergalo, FIN, ribbon: Stylish work from Finland’s best. 15.65.

Darya Sorokina, AZE, hoop: The Russians aren’t the only ones who recycle leotards. It’s like deja-vu watching Sorokina, who resembles a young Marina Durunda, perform her hoop exercise in that familiar blue leotard and executing some of the same masteries.

Celia Joseph-Noel, FRA, clubs: A learning experience for her with three drops of the clubs.

Viktoria Bogdanova, EST, ball: Lovely performance to “Together” by The xx. 16.4.

Daria Trubnikova, RUS, clubs: A fast-paced performance with plenty of conga drums. Kind of exotic, carried off well with her polished style. 20.3.

Ekaterina Selezneva, RUS, clubs: Some wickedly original masteries in this routine, including one right off the bat where she does half a back walkover, catch the clubs on the ball of her foot, kicks them back into the air and then stands up as though from a front walkover. Love the routine’s funky, kind-of-Asian choice of music, her uninhabited choreo, the big smile on her face. Never mind the dropped club toward the end. 19.8.

Daria Trubnikova, RUS, ribbon: Italian opera by Pavarotti. Some lovely moments in this routine, but for the most part she looks like she’s thinking more about her masteries than interpreting the music. Camera pans to coach Amina Zaripova looking thrilled at the close of this performance. 16.4.

Ekaterina Selezneva, RUS, ribbon: “Sex and the City.” Compared to her others, this routine is a little more standard, but still enjoyable.

Subdivision 1:

Anastasia Grazenkova, RUS, clubs: As the race to fill the place of Yulia Bravikova and the rest of the reserves bench begins, young Grazenkova looks like a promising candidate -- until she drops her clubs twice to this sweet rendition of “I Could Have Danced All Night” from My Fair Lady. Well, she’s young. 15.55.

Elizaveta Iampolskaia, MDA, ribbon: A fast-paced routine to a variation of “I Will Survive.” Has to stop for a good 10 seconds to unknot her rope half a minute in. Love the butterfly jumps, however. 11.8.

Kamelya Tuncel, TUR, clubs: A cute routine from a cute young gymnast, and the song lyrics are about murder. No, seriously -- “I’m going to wring his neck/I’m going to take my guns and shoot him down.” Well.

Irina Annenkova, RUS, ribbon: Very nice presentation to “O Fortuna” by the 2014 Youth Olympic champion. Really has to cheat a pivot at one point but overall a pleasure to watch.

Ingrid Bratsberg, NOR, clubs: Clean and pretty routine to “Mascara” by Violet right up to the last second when she pulls a Kudryavtseva and drops a club. Sigh. 13.95.

Anastasia Grazenkova, RUS, ribbon: Charming and difficult ribbon routine to Russian folk music that just gets faster and faster and faster -- hats off to her for keeping up with it. Fashion note: her leotard has no skirt in front, and a little ruffle in the back. The coming thing? 18.4.

Karolina Mizune, Latvia, ball: Nice interpretation of “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica.

Irina Annenkova, RUS, hoop: After several years of not being in the conversation, Annenkova’s developed into quite a passionate performer -- and one who’s not bad about covering up her little errors (as she did once in this routine). Impressive work from her so far. 18.4.

Aisha Izabekova, KGZ, clubs: Shimmies her way through an Indian-themed routine.

Anastasia Guzenkova, RUS, hoop: Like most Russians, she seems predisposed to handle big music well. Mireille Mathieu’s “Padam, Padam” is admittedly a little mature for her, but she pulls it off with aplomb. Quick work, reminiscent of Kudryavtseva. Great ending pose, too. 20.5. Whoa.

Kamelya Tuncel, TUR, hoop: The young hope from Turkey has 15.95.

Irina Annenkova, RUS, ball: The more I see of her the more I like her. So expressive with whole body, but especially with her hands. Terrific turn sequence that ends with her leg above her head, giving the ball a tiny little kick off her toe. Entertaining routine, well worth watching. 19.8.

Aisha Izabekova, KGZ, ribbon: Ribbon in a hopeless knot halfway through, has to change it out and promptly loses the replacement. Rhythmic is hard, guys.

Anastasia Guzenkova, RUS, ball: 19.65. A star is born.

Irina Annenkova, RUS, clubs: A big smile on her face for the first time today as the closing bars of Edvin Marton’s “Godfather” sound through the Pluski Olympic Center. Certainly there are more successful Russians to come in this field, but she has done very well for herself here. Bravo. 19.95.

Ingrid Bratsberg, NOR, ball: When you lose control of your ball at the end of your routine but the music and choreo almost makes it look like you meant to do it that way. 12.8.