Flying Hoops and Hopes: First Day of the European Championship

I watched the European Championship live from Vienna last night and loved the performances of all gymnast, both new stars and some well-established veterans.

A great hope for Greek gymnastics, Varvara Filou may be warming up her shoulders here, but her lines looked clean and strong in her performance at the EC so far.

Meanwhile, Margarita Mamun from Russia showed no nerves and got stellar scores with ball and hoop.

Alexandra Piscupescu, on the other hand, is not just a hopeful but the best Romanian rhythmic gymnast to date. She deserves to make finals and should be proud of herself.

Judges, please, give Alexandra good marks! ;-) And while we are at it, give them to Silvia Miteva, too. She made minor errors in her pivots and missed a risk with ball, but she showed strong routines and choreography as usual. This may be her last European championship!

Halkina from Belarus, a new hope for this gymnastics powerhouse, looks sad after dropping the hoop and with a reason! This error may put Belarus out of the medals, which would be very sad. Meanwhile, Lala Yusifova from Azerbaijan is just short of the 17.00 mark but her hoop and her spirit flew very high. I hope to see her win medals next year!

And, finally, the question remains: who will win more gold, Mamun or Kudryavtseva. I favor Mamun's style but prefer Yana's apparatus technique. Let's see if Yana's nerves will not betray her. This championship may become her first big victory.