Soldatova Dominates, Linoy Shines for Israel, the Ukrainian Teams Needs New Decisions

The Grand Prix in Eliat, Israel, brought no surprises but it did confirm that Linoy Ashram from Israel now takes the stage with an absolutely bright and original light of her own. She is fast, she is clean, her jumps are "explosive," and.... she actually moves with the music. Linoy is the best gymnast in Israel right now. The judges will, eventually, recognize this.

In the meantime, for several years now, the Ukraine has chosen to trust Viktoria Mazur, and Viktoria Mazur, who is an absolutely elegant, talented, beautiful girl, has never really had a competition where she did not make at least one completely disastrous mistakes. This time it was worse because, in the spirit of very poor decision-making, she went and picked up the "reserve" apparatus, while her hoop was still on the carpet and she actually thought she should perform with one hoop, while the other one is lying in the middle of the carpet.  It would have been one thing to lose the original hoop outside the carpet but not going after it when it is 2 steps away? I have never seen this. 

Here she is, holding one hoop and the other is right there. It would be like an artistic gymnast getting off the beam and going on another one.

If she had been inexperienced, I would still think it is highly unusual, where by "unusual, " I mean: not logical at all. But she did it and  she has been in competition for about 5 years now.

Either she needs to get some additional training that works with her psychological stamina, teaches how to react to the unexpected and how to avoid disasters like this, or, honestly, in all of the Ukraine, there has to be another elegant, talented gymnast like her.

The judges were not impressed:

Really, there is no excuse for someone who was born with quite obvious physical advantages over others to keep making poor decisions at every competition.

And, then, speaking of decisions, I still feel sad that Soldatova did not go to the Olympics. She is beautiful in everything she does, a true spectacle of a gymnast, with strength, grace, and passion all at once. I can't get enough of her. She brings more amplitude and more amazement every time she performs.

Of course, I always root for the underdogs, too, and, in this case,  Elizaveta Gamalejeva from Latvia is a great choice for a gymnast who keeps getting better, though still shy of the top spots. She did a very expressive ball routine where, for the first time, I think the music choice did justice to her personal charm and presence on the carpet. If she had cleaner lines, she would get higher scores, but I can tell she loves what she does. And that is always inspiring.