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A few routines and notes from the women’s DTB Cup in Stuttgart this weekend…

Lauren Mitchell Beam 2010 DTB Cup

Lauren Mitchell Floor 2010 DTB Cup

It appears the Australian’s confidence is absolutely soaring, wining not only her best events here at this competition (beam and floor), but also her weakest event (bars).  With her performance both last year and this year, Mitchell has not only taken over the reigns from past Aussies Allana Slater and Dasha Joura as the new leader of her team, but she’s now demonstrating she’s a world leader as well.

Ana Dementieva Beam 2010 DTB Cup

The Russians in general have apparently looked to have a bit of a post-worlds hangover, with  Nabieva, Afanasyeva, and Semenova struggling tremendously at the Massilia Cup and Dementieva also looking a bit tired here (though she did manage bronze medals on bars and beam and a silver on floor).  I suspect Dementieva is still likely a potential player for Russia over the next two years, while Semenova’s continued downward spiral may indicate she’s in the midst of her exit from international gymnastics.  Afanasyeva’s somewhat bizarre mishaps in competition also leave her future a bit questionable, especially with gymnasts like Komova and Grishina coming up and only five spots available on the 2011 and 2012 squads.

Anastasia Koval Beam 2010 DTB Cup

Yana Demyanchuk Beam 2010 DTB Cup

It’s nice to see that Koval and Demyanchuk are at least maintaining a presence of the Ukranian team on the international stage, because without them the team would appear to be nearly extinct.  This country, which produced some of the very best all-arounders in the world throughout the 1990’s (Tatiana Gutsu, Lilia Podkopayeva, Viktoria Karpenko) and a few in the 2000’s (Alina Kozich, Irina Yarotska, Alyona Kvasha) just finished 12th as a team at this year’s world championships, with no all-around finalists and just one event finalist (Demyanchuk finished 8th on beam).  Koval, known more for her bar work (finalist in Beijing), has unfortunately deteriorated a bit on that event, but her beam routine here was pretty darn nice.  Demyanchuk, despite the fall, continues to be one to watch on this event.  These two did place 4th and 5th on bars here as well, leaving perhaps just a thin ray of sunshine on this team.  Let’s hope for a miraculous revival over the next two years of this once exquisite team, lest they disappear for good.