Rising U.S. talents Sunisa Lee and Konnor McClain led the Americans to 16 medals at the annual Jesolo Trophy this past weekend in Jesolo, Italy.
Lee, who turns 16 on March 9, teamed with Shilese Jones, Emma Mulabayo and Gabby Perea in compiling 166.798 points, helping the Americans take the team title over China (Liu Jingxing, Liu Tingting, Qi Qi and Tang Xijing, 165.201). Bolstered by a double-twisting Yurchenko vault and high-difficulty routines on all apparatus, Lee overcame a fall on a Humphrey turn on balance beam to take the all-around title over 2018 world beam champion Liu Tingting, 56.466 and 55.901.
A sharp Italian senior team featuring Olympic hopefuls Asia D’Amato, Alice D’Amato, Desiree Carofiglio and Elisa Iorio finished third. Italy was without the services of 2018 Youth Olympic all-around champion Giorgia Villa, who withdrew after injuring a finger during the warmup and was replaced by Alice D’Amato.
Lee’s sunny senior debut continued in event finals, where she won uneven bars with a sizzling set (calm stalder blind to pike Jaeger, Nabieva to Pak to Maloney to Gienger, toe stalder full to full-twisting double tuck, 14.45) and floor exercise (double double tuck, double layout, 1.5 to front layout full, double tuck, 14.2) and added bronze on balance beam (two back handsprings to layout and side aerial to two layout stepouts and double tuck dismount, 14.15).
Liu, crowned world champion on beam last fall, showed her trademark consistency and polish in winning the team title. Malabuyo, who missed the second half of the 2018 season with a back injury, showed polish and resolve in her first international of the year, taking bronze in the all-around and silvers on beam (Humphrey turn to wolf double turn, back handspring, layout, punch front, standing Arabian, double pike, 14.4) and floor (double layout, Arabian double front to single stag, full twisting double tuck, double pike, 14.1).
China, long a nation of uneven bars/balance beam gymnasts, arrived in Italy looking stronger on floor than in previous years. They broke into the medals on every event, with Liu golden on beam (front handspring to front tuck, split leap to side aerial to split jump, double twist dismount, 14.8), Tang winning silver on bars (Maloney to Pak, pike Jaeger, double layout, 14.35) and Qi Qi in bronze on floor (13.55).
A superb Russian team composed of Olga Astafyeva, Elena Gerasimova, Viktoriia Listunova and Vladislava Urazova upset the U.S. (Ciena Alipio, Sophia Butler, Konnor McClain and Kayla Di Cello) for the junior team title, drawing praise from every quarter for their difficulty, originality and the pureness of their technique.
But there was no stopping the talented McClain, who scored 56.167 to take the all-around title, a score that would have put the 14-year-old second among the seniors. Among the highlights: an excellent double-twisting Yurchenko vault, two back handsprings to layout on balance beam and beautiful double layout on floor. Born February 1, 2005, McClain is too young to compete at the 2020 Olympic Games, but her Jesolo performance marks her out as a potential 2024 hopeful.
Urazova and Gerasimova, the silver and bronze medalists in the all-around, continued their success in event finals, each adding two medals. Listunova, whose long lines and precise landings are reminiscent of a young Viktoria Komova’s, avenged her fourth place all-around finish with the titles on beam and floor.
Trofeo di Jesolo - Seniors
1. USA, 166.798
2. China, 165.201
3. Italy, 161.33
1. Sunisa Lee, USA, 56.466
2. Liu Tingting, CHN, 55.901
3. Emma Malabuyo, USA, 55.899
1. Asia D’Amato, ITA, 14.2
2. Desiree Carofiglio, ITA, 13.25
1. Sunisa Lee, USA, 14.45
2. Tang Xijing, CHN, 14.35
3. Elisa Iorio, ITA, 14.3
1. Liu Tingting, CHN, 14.8
2. Emma Malabuyo, USA, 14.4
3. Sunisa Lee, USA, 14.15
1. Sunisa Lee, USA, 14.2
2. Emma Malabuyo, USA, 14.1
3. Qi Qi, CHN, 13.55
Trofeo di Jesolo - Juniors
1. Russia, 165.234
2. USA, 163.899
3. Belgium, 152.734
1. Konnor McClain, USA, 56.167
2. Vladislava Urazova, RUS, 55.2
3. Elena Gerasimova, RUS, 55.0
1. Konnor McClain, USA, 14.425
2. Viktoriia Listunova, RUS, 14.1
3. Ciena Alipio, USA, 14.05
1. Vladislava Urazova, RUS, 14.3
2. Elena Gerasimova, RUS, 13.75
3. Konnor McClain, USA, 13.7
1. Viktoriia Listunova, RUS, 13.85
2. Ciena Alipio, USA, 13.7
3. Elena Gerasimova, RUS, 13.7
1. Viktoriia Listunova, RUS, 14.3
2. Vladislava Urazova, RUS, 13.9
3. Konnor McClain, USA, 13.35