Sofia 2018: Russia collects their 7th gold, Italy and Bulgaria to Tokio 2020

On the triangle between Russia, Italy and Bulgaria. How eventually Russia keeps the all around world title. And how Soldatova continues to charm the whole Armeec Arena after winning the bronze medal on Friday, and becoming Longines Queen of Elegance.

Let me keep the chronological order of events:

After group A, Italian girls completely exploded the rankings by a margin of + 4 points on the second team: Japan.
2 brilliant and impressive executions which secured them a place on the podium, no matter what’s happening in group B. But will Russia and Bulgaria be able to beat their impressive 44.825?! That puts a big pressure on the other groups, It’s an average of 22.415 points par routine.

Meanwhile Aleksandra Soldatova walks with no entourage in the Arena’s corridors, causing a wave of adoring fans running from every corner of the Arena to take a selfie or sign an autograph. For almost an hour, Sasha stays there until also the last fan’s request hasn’t been realized.

Group B starts, Ukrainian girls in shiny leotards, obtains a very good 21.250 that puts them in a comfortable position. Then It’s Russia on the carpet wearing a nude leotard with a huge red rose on their shoulders. Amazing routine, hoops always flying in the air just like Italy.. and Kaboom! That’s worth a huge 22.950, but surprise, the first Russian INQUIRY of the day makes it raise to 23.250. Armeec Arena explodes in a huge ROAR of disappointment from the Italian and Bulgarian fans. They actually lead by 0.475 points on Italy, and they’ll need an “easy” 21.575 to overcome them. On the warming up carpet Bulgaria prepares for their first routine.

A few more groups and the Diamond Girls reach the carpet in stylish pink and purple leotards. An amazing and dynamic routine, Simona Dyankova performs her final straddle jump and lands into the final pose, huge smile on, this was really good. The Bulgarian fans go nuts, there are many kisses, but the score seems to disappoint them, although It’s better than Italy’s mixed routine, with 22.350 they are 0.9 points behind Russia, that means a lot to catch up with the 5 hoops routine. But the inquiry this time is rejected.

Second rotations Ukrainian girls routine has some mistakes here and there and the score is not as good as their first, and not enough to catch Italy, that means another 4th place in an all around final after Vlada Nikolchenko. Is this a kind of new Ukrainian curse?

Few groups later, the audience starts their usual “Russia” scream, but when they enter the competition hall the girls are booed by the rest of the audience. Careless, in their Olympic wonderful flower leotards, they walk on the carpet. Cerrone’s Variations of Supernature first notes in the air, and the Russian girls perform their first throw, then another, and another, and wow this routine is really impressive!
Final pose and even Irina Viner’s poker face melts in a smile and she hugs the group’s coach. When the score comes out is not a surprise: 23.050 that’s a LOT of points! Bulgaria would need 23.950 to be world champion now.

And then this happened:

Let me do a short intro before: after Thursday and the Averina’s ribbon tragedy, I thought we have had enough drama and surprises in this World Championships, I was completely unprepared for this.

Bulgarian girls are in green with 5 hoops, ready to say the last word on the final ranking and most important the podium. Bulgarian fans start the usual ROAR to welcome their beloved gymnast, Iliana Raeva runs on the stands to watch the routine.
Girls walks on the carpet, they place themselves in the starting position ready to flight and then just right before the routine starts, drama! Stefani Kyriakova starts the routine but the others don’t follow her, panic, after a second Madlen Radukanova starts as well and the routine can begin. But that for sure is a first crucial point. The girls loose their concentration and they seem less confident, a first drop, then a hoop ends out from the carpet, replacement apparatus needed and more panic. Their medal chance is at risk now. But they manage to end without more major mistakes and their final score is 19.700. They are third and qualified to Tokyo Olympic Games. But many hearts are broken for their poor execution that maybe costed them the color of their medals.

———————–END OF THE COMPETITION———————–

So after 4 years Italy is back on the all around podium with a sparkling silver medal. Russia keeps their gold and maybe also the group members (maybe I should wait for the finals to say that) and Bulgaria is bronze medalist. The three are qualified for Tokyo Olympic Games 2020, and If you want to know more about the qualifications process, you should read this.

A side note on inquiries, do we have a problem here? Inquiries dropped like rain in French Guyana’s rainy season. And the most alarming fact about that is that most of them are increasing the scores between 0.2 and 0.5 points. Does that mean that judges needs more coffee at their table? Or simply that the level of difficulties in a routine is now so high that you just can miss some elements? Is this a limit of the new Code of Points?

From Armeec Arena for today that’s all, stay tuned for the last day of competition and the Gala!

Results by Longines.

1 RUSSIAN FEDERATION RUS 23.250 23.050 46.300
2 ITALY ITA 22.775 22.050 44.825
3 BULGARIA BUL 19.700 22.350 42.050
4 UKRAINE UKR 19.900 21.250 41.150
5 JAPAN JPN 19.750 20.900 40.650
6 BELARUS BLR 20.000 19.200 39.200
7 AZERBAIJAN AZE 19.200 19.900 39.100
8 FRANCE FRA 18.700 18.350 37.050
9 MEXICO MEX 18.300 18.650 36.950
10 FINLAND FIN 18.650 18.100 36.750
11 PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA CHN 17.550 18.550 36.100
12 GERMANY GER 18.550 17.450 36.000
13 ESTONIA EST 17.600 18.275 35.875
14 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA USA 17.300 18.500 35.800
15 ISRAEL ISR 17.550 18.100 35.650
16 POLAND POL 18.100 16.800 34.900
17 UZBEKISTAN UZB 17.500 17.200 34.700
18 BRAZIL BRA 16.800 16.975 33.775
19 HUNGARY HUN 18.000 15.700 33.700
20 SPAIN ESP 14.450 19.150 33.600
22 GREECE GRE 17.300 15.000 32.300
23 CANADA CAN 16.700 15.550 32.250
24 KAZAKHSTAN KAZ 15.050 16.800 31.850
25 SWITZERLAND SUI 15.350 16.200 31.550
26 EGYPT EGY 15.450 15.050 30.500
27 SLOVENIA SLO 14.500 14.650 29.150
28 CZECH REPUBLIC CZE 14.000 15.150 29.150
29 AUSTRALIA AUS 14.725 14.200 28.925
30 TURKEY TUR 15.250 13.650 28.900
31 REPUBLIC OF KOREA KOR 13.850 14.775 28.625
32 AUSTRIA AUT 13.400 13.850 27.250
33 GEORGIA GEO 10.700 11.900 22.600
34 NEW ZEALAND NZL 11.700 10.150 21.850
35 SERBIA SRB 10.200 11.550 21.750
36 INDIA IND 8.000 8.450 16.450