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A look at the Romanian men’s team…

Marian Dragulescu Floor 2009 Romanian Nationals
He’s still got it! Although we’ve seen him do a more difficult first pass (he used to do a punch front 1 ¼ out of that), he looks as controlled and powerful as ever. He made those passes look WAY too easy, and yet every single one of them is extremely difficult. How about that second pass of front full to front full 1 ¾? And he’s still doing a double-double as the SIXTH tumbling pass – unbelievable! He should definitely be in the gold medal mix on floor at worlds next month. Who says 28 is too old to be a world class male gymnast?
Marian Dragulescu Vault 2009 Romanian Nationals
He stood up the vault he botched in Beijing! That second vault is called a “Li Xiaopeng” – it’s a roundoff half on to handspring Randi off. What’s going to REALLY help Dragulescu in the vault finals next month is that this vault is valued two tenths higher than all of the other “big vaults” we see nowadays. Let’s take a look at some of the vault values for a lot of the vaults we’ll be seeing in the worlds event finals:
Vault Description
Official Name
Value
Handspring double front tucked
Roche
6.6
Kasamatsu laid out with 1 ½ twists
Driggs
6.6
Handspring front layout with 2 twists
Cuervo-1 ½
6.6
Yurchenko layout with 2 ½ twists
Shewfelt
6.6
Tsukahara double back tucked
Yeo
6.6
Yurchenko double back tucked
Melissanidis
6.6
Handspring double front half tucked
Dragulescu
7.0
Handspring double front piked
Blanik
7.0
Kasamatsu laid out with 2 twists
Lopez
7.0
Handspring front layout with 2 ½ twists
Yeo 2
7.0
Tsukahara double back piked
Lu Yufu
7.0
Yurchenko double back piked
Melissanidis piked
7.0
Handspring double front half piked
Dragulescu piked
7.2
Yurchenko half on handspring front layout with 2 ½ twists
Li Xiaopeng
7.2
These are pretty much the vaults we tend to see in world and Olympic vault finals nowadays. Dragulescu’s second vault is one of only two vaults listed in the code that is valued at a 7.2. And since I don’t believe the other one has ever been competed (Dragulescu piked), we could argue that Dragulescu’s second vault is theoretically the hardest vault ever done! I believe Li Xiaopeng is the only other gymnast to have competed it, and his was actually a little better than Dragulescu’s. This means that Dragulescu’s total vault D-score of 14.2 is currently the highest of anyone in the world, and if he lands them both he’ll certainly be the favorite for gold in London next month. But as we saw in Beijing, that’s certainly not a given…
Marian Dragulescu High Bar 2009 Romanian Nationals
One of the very few guys in the world willing to throw a Def nowadays! It’s kind of a shame that we used to see this skill a little more often than we do now. I think most guys view this skill as too easy to miss, and with the 1.0 deduction for a fall now, hardly anyone is willing to risk it. It’s actually a perfect skill to do in combination out of a Takamoto-half, though, as Dragulescu showed us here.
Flavius Koczi Vault 2009 Romanian Nationals
For this next one, see if you can pick out the two very unique passes that we essentially NEVER see. Be ready to count twists quickly!
Flavius Koczi Floor 2009 Romanian Nationals
That first pass was a front full to a RANDI – never seen that in combination and he stuck it! The other one I was referring to was the 3 ½ to barani later in the routine – it was a little hard to tell because the camera switched to the vaulter, but that’s what he did!
Alin Jivan Floor 2009 Romanian Nationals
Interesting double Arabians from a roundoff – and both stuck! That was a very ambitious second pass as well – 2 ½ to front full to rudi.