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2012 Romania vs. Germany vs. Great Britain in Ulm, Germany:

 

Larisa Iordache Floor

 

5.9, 14.55

 

Larisa Iordache Beam

 

6.8, 15.3

 

Larisa Iordache Bars

 

6.2, 14.85

 

Larisa Iordache Vault

 

5.8, 15.05

 

Catalina Ponor Floor

 

6.2, 14.9

 

Catalina Ponor Beam

 

6.4, 15.1

 

Diana Bulimar Floor

 

5.8, 14.45

 

Diana Bulimar Beam

 

6.0, 14.55

 

Diana Bulimar Bars

 

5.7, 13.95

 

Raluca Haidu Bars

 

5.5, 13.95

 

Diana Chelaru Floor

 

5.9, 14.4

 

Interesting that Larisa Iordache chose to go back to her old floor music for this meet; she had debuted a new routine at last weekend’s duel meet against France.  She took out her double-double here, but I imagine it was because the floor was a bit harder; we did, however, see her quad turn in place of the triple later in the routine.  Her bars just continues to flow so well, and she hit some incredible handstands in this routine.  And although a DTY is still relatively new for her, she has started to show a really straight body on this vault and an effortless twist.  Could an Amanar be in her near future?  Iordache posted another world class 59.75 all-around here, and that was with some tough judging.  She’s becoming more and more of a contender for an Olympic all-around medal, and her competitive confidence appears to be growing with each competition this year.

 

Catalina Ponor…WOW!!!  She continues to get better and better with each competition.  She is now showing four full tumbling passes on floor as well as a perfectly executed quad turn – a very valuable E skill.  The form on the triple full is the weakest area of the routine, so hopefully she could work on this a little bit before London and perhaps take advantage of a bonus leap or two.  A 14.9 is a huge score on floor, though, and would easily get her into the Olympic floor finals.  Beam was rock solid again this weekend, and this time with a new sequence of side aerial to front aerial, back handspring layout – connected beautifully.  She received 1.3 in deductions for this near flawless routine…ridiculous!!  Her confidence is just out of this world, and like Iordache, I have to think that the number of competitions Ponor is performing in this year is a smart move.

 

It’s so interesting to see almost polar opposite strategies from the Romanians and Americans with regards to preparing their teams for the Olympic Games.  All of the potential Romanian Olympians have already competed in multiple international competitions this year – including several as a complete team – and still have the European Championships to go.  The Americans, on the other hand, compete very, very rarely on the international stage, and you have to wonder what the reasoning behind this is.  We’ve seen several of the top U.S. contenders compete this year, but most of them only once or twice.  We have yet to see any of the returning 2008 Olympians on a competition floor this year, and there won’t be any international opportunities left for any of them.  The remainder of the pre-Olympic season for the Americans will include national team camps (one of which is going on right now), the U.S. Classic, the national championships, and the Olympic Trials.

 

Diana Bulimar continues to sizzle, and as I mentioned in my previous Romanian blog, she appears to be a lock for the team at this point.  I still have yet to see what Diana Chelaru brings to this team, given her weak bar routine and the fact that they already have plenty of world class floor workers without her.  Chelaru’s tumbling here is decent, but this music is borderline OBNOXIOUS!  The choreography is also quite terrible, and I’m surprised they would choose this type of routine for her in the Olympic year.  I still believe Raluca Haidu would likely be a better choice, although she is capable of a better bar routine than this – she used to do a full turn out of that first inbar stalder.  A 13.95 on bars would be welcomed by the Romanian team at this point, however, so I would think she is still right in the mix.