2018: The highs and lows

 

As we reach the end of another year, it’s time to take a look back over the rollercoaster that was 2018 in European gymnastics!

January

February

March 

April

  • Nile Wilson wins the AA at the Commonwealth Games in Australia, with GB teammate James Hall finishing second. Courtney Tulloch wins gold on rings and Wilson also wins high bar. Ireland’s Rhys McClenaghan wins pommels, with a massive 15.100.
  • Alice Kinsella wins AA bronze at Commonwealths and also wins beam, with Georgia-Mae Fenton taking gold on bars. England finish second in the team competition behind Canada.
  • Elisabeth Seitz of Germany is the World Cup series all around champion 
  • Russia’s Aliya Mustafina returns to competition following the birth of her daughter and qualifies for a bunch of finals, but ends up injuring her knee and is out again for several months. Angelina Melnikova is like a whole new gymnast and smashes everything, her ups and downs of 2017 long forgotten. Artur Dalaloyan wins the men’s AA.

May

  • Italy’s Sydney Saturnino starts the Gymnastics Fail Challenge, which spreads like wildfire through Instagram, with gymnasts all over the world posting videos of their falls, near misses and comedy moments.
  • Mélanie De Jesus Dos Santos wins the AA competition at the French Championships and Julien Gobaux takes gold in the MAG AA.
  • Irina Alexeeva, born in Russia and brought up in the USA, is added to the Russian national team, following months of uncertainty
  • Ukraine’s Diana Varinska dominates in Osijek

June

July

August

  • The European Championships take place in Glasgow. It’s an amazing experience, despite a huge number of gymnasts being out with injuries, particularly on the WAG side. There isn’t a dry eye in the house when Boglarka Devai wins vault. Nina Derwael gets a well-deserved bars gold with a beautiful routine, Sanne Wevers wins beam following last year’s disappointment, and Mélanie De Jesus Dos Santos is the new floor champion. Russia wins the team competition.
  • On the MAG side, Great Britain’s Dom Cunningham gets a surprise gold on floor. Rhys McClenaghan of Ireland looks unstoppable on pommels, winning with a huge 15.3. Greece’s Eleftherios Petrounias wins rings, Artur Dalaloyan of Russia becomes vault and parallel bars champion and Switzerland’s Oliver Hegi gets the gold on high bar with this gorgeous routine. Russia wins the team competition.
  • 1988 Olympic champion Yelena Shushunova dies at the age of 49 due to complications from pneumonia.
  • France’s Lorette Charpy sustains a facial fracture while training uneven bars

September

October

  • European gymnasts dominate at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, with Italy’s Giorgia Villa winning the all around competition. Great Britain’s Amelie Morgan comes in second and Ukraine’s Anastasiia Bachynska takes the bronze.
  • The World Championships kick off in Doha. It’s not a great start, with heavy rain causing flooding in the streets and inside the arena. Nina Derwael is now the world uneven bars champion and Elisabeth Seitz finally gets a Worlds bars medal! Aliya Mustafina is back and comes fifth on bars, and Angelina Melnikova is devastated to miss out on a bronze on floor. In the WAG team competition, France and Germany are the only European nations to make the final, finishing fifth and eighth.
  • The following European WAG teams qualify to next year’s Worlds – France, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Romania, Hungary, Spain, Ukraine, Switzerland, Poland and the Czech Republic. Congratulations!
  • Greece’s Vasiliki Millousi retires from gymnastics, at the age of 34.
  • The FIG bans face paint and uses a photo of Céline van Gerner in case anyone was in any doubt as to what motivated that decision. Twitter is not happy. 

November

  • Great Britain’s Louis Smith officially retires
  • France’s Loan His also announces her retirement due to injuries
  • Team Germany (Elisabeth Seitz and Marcel Nguyen) win the Swiss Cup.
  • The Cottbus World Cup takes place, with a gold on bars for Belgium’s Nina Derwael. Ukraine’s Diana Varinska takes bronze on beam and Marta Pihan-Kulesza gets a surprise bronze on floor, with her resurrected Pink Panther routine. 
  • On the MAG side, Artem Dolgopyat wins floor, with Casimir Schmidt of the Netherlands coming in second. France’s Samir Aït Saïd gets rings silver, Igor Radivilov of Ukraine wins vault and his teammate Oleg Verniaiev gets the gold on parallel bars. Team NL’s Epke Zonderland wins high bar, leaving last year’s world champ Tin Srbic of Croatia to settle for silver.
  • Romania’s Larisa Iordache confirms that she is back in the gym

December

  • Diana Varinska gets the gold at the Joaquin Blume memorial, with Hungary’s Zsofia Kovacs coming in second and Russia’s Angelina Simakova getting the bronze. In the MAG competition, Russia’s Artur Dalaloyan wins, with Spain’s Nestor Abad coming in third.
  • Great Britain’s Gabby Jupp finally returns to competition after over two years of dealing with injury and wins a bronze medal at the Toyota International.
  • Russia’s Nikita Nagornyy and Daria Spiridonova get married
  • Italy’s Enus Mariani retires
  • Russia’s Maria Paseka is cleared to compete again, following back surgery a year ago
  • Spain’s Paula Raya has successful foot surgery, which she hopes will solve her ongoing pain issues

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