Larisa Iordache Landing an Amanar and Sandra Izbasa Landing a Cheng:
Sure, these are being done on a relatively soft landing surface, but this is a sign they’re likely planning on throwing these in London. Might Ponor have one up her sleeve as well? Iordache’s Amanar looks TOTALLY feasible on a competition surface, while Izbasa’s Cheng probably needs a little more pop off the table. But we’ve seen her get a better block than this, so I think she can do it. In fact, I would think in a way that this vault might actually even be a little easier than the half-on front layout full she’s been doing because it requires slightly less rotation. It does, however, require a little more height than this to do really well.
Will this be enough to boost the Romanians into gold-medal contention in London (how CRAZY would that be after finishing out of the medals in both Rotterdam and Tokyo)? It will for three events – vault, beam, and floor…but we still can’t forget about bars. Iordache is the only Romanian who swings anywhere close to the same league as the Russians, Americans, or Chinese, which means they still have two weak scores here (low 14’s at best). I’m sure they’re working extremely hard on perfecting these routines though, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see them squeak out a few more tenths on these bar routines in London. Bulimar and Haidu certainly have the potential to get better here.
This is making things QUITE interesting with regards to this Olympic team race. I already felt Romania was looking better than the Chinese are at this point, and they have already beaten Russia twice at the European Championships this year. These new vaults send a clear statement from Romania to the rest of the world: They’re now gunning for the United States.
What a showdown it will be.