The yearly Italian Serie A has begun, and since it’s the Olympic year, things will be more interesting to follow than ever.
The first meet took place in Rimini. Some foreign gymnasts were added to the local teams. The Polish Marta Pihan Kulesza is with Pro Lissone for the third year, Cintia Rodriguez from Spain with Estate ‘83, little Cristina Vrabie from Romania with Gal Lissone and Claudia Colom Martin with Ginnica Giglio.
There were two notable absences from the competition, Vanessa Ferrari and Erika Fasana. They are both still recovering from injuries but expect to see them back in the next months.
The rules this year changed a little bit. For each team, 3 gymnasts compete on every apparatus and the top 2 scores are counted, but at the end the competition, the 2 best scores out of the four which were discarded, are also added to the total. Remember that during these competitions, a bonus system is used, so routines would score notably lower in a regular international competition. As always, I will write the scores without the bonus system.
Giorgia Villa is a little gymnast born in 2003 who had the top AA score between all the gymnasts competing. Her D scores are competitive on all events, with just some less difficulty on beam (5.1). A solid FTY ( 14.30), a good performance on bars despite some form issues ( 14.15) and a great floor routine with full-in, triple twist, front double twist and double piked ( 14.10) is a huge asset for a girl who won’t even compete at this year’ Junior Europeans because she’s too young. Giorgia is described as a super talented girl and I’m sure we will hear about her in the next few years.
After a very good year, Carlotta Ferlito is back again. Her beam was super clean, with just some minor wobbles and a watered down double twist dismount (14.25). She has upgraded her bars routine, who many people know it’s her worst event, where she’s showing more consistency and less issues (13.80). Vault was a little problematic, landing her Yurchenko 1 ½ with four huge steps (a sign of power I hope) and floor was good even if downgraded (14.20). Carlotta is working on a lot of upgrades this year. A double layout on floor, the DTY on vault, a Ricna+Pak combination on bars and many other skills which can raise her competitiveness in the field. We will surely see some of those in the next competitions, maybe even at the American Cup, but the skill I’m most excited to see from her is the DTY, an element she has been working on for years.
Desiree Carofiglio was honestly a gymnast I was not expecting to see here. She is a 2000 born and so eligible for the Olympics, but until now, she has been part of the B Italian team, showing nice skills but not so great form and consistency. Surprise, she was awesome! Desirèe was one of the few Italian gymnasts with a Yurchenko 1 ½ , but it used to be quite sloppy. Well, in Rimini she hit a very nice vault with some improvements on the form ( 14.40). Her routine on bars has always been very interesting thinking about the boring compositions that many gymnasts from Italy have, her swing is more fluid than most of her teammates’, she has one of the highest D score and also a great Ricna+Pak combination ( 14.00), she just needs less form issues. Floor was very unique too, and not just for an Italian gymnast. In fact, she performs both the Dowell and the double front, and the latter as the third and final pass! (13.95). Beam is a weak event for her since she’s quite inconsistent and shaky, but since beam it’s a strong event for Italy, she doesn’t need to improve a lot to have the chance to be in the main team.
Other noteworthy performances
- Elisa Meneghini was noticed as a super talented junior gymnast, and many people thought she would have become one of Italy’s greatest. Sadly, the lack of motivation, the fears, and the change of coach (her coach Anton Stolyar went back to Russia) didn’t help her shine and to unveil all her potential. One moment and you’re super excited because you just saw some videos showing her upgrades, and then all this excitement goes away when you realize she’s not risking to perform those skills. Therefore, this week I was excited because we’ve finally saw Elisa risking, trying something new and showing she badly wants Rio. Regardless of the fact that she fell on beam performing her brand new roundoff+ layout 1/1 and then lost concentration to fall again. After years of stagnation she is starting to move forward and I’m happy about this. Her Yurchenko 1 ½ is great (14.30) and looks actually ready for the upgrade to DTY. Floor is quite good (14.35), she’s famous for sticking landings and also has some nice and clean passes (double layout, full-in, whip+whip+bhs+double back, double pike). With some more work on the dance department, she can surely be one of the top worker of the team.
Sofia Busato is coming back from an injury and was supposed to perform just a simple FTY, but then at the last minute decided to do a huge DTY (15.20). An Amanar is surely in her mind, but I’m afraid for the other 3 apparatus, where she lacks difficulty and form. Martina Rizzelli came back after the foot injury she sustained a few weeks before worlds and only competed bars. It was a good routine for her (14.5), but, as a bars specialist, she lacks fluidity and good form. She has been working on a double double dismount for quite a while now, will she compete it?
This was a good competition for Lara Mori, who hit all events to help her team placing 3rd. What worries me is the fact her routines look maxed out. Her FTY is low and with some form problems (13.70), bars are good but often too rushed (13.85), beam and floor are not bad at all, but I really don’t see her making some big changes she would need in order to be on the top.
Same for Enus Mariani, who despite having the best routine on bars (14.40) and the possibility to show great upgrades there, is lacking difficulty and consistency on the other apparatus. Three falls on beam (11.45) and only decent routines on vault and floor are not helping her cause. Just a routine on bars in the low 15s will bring her in contention for a spot in the major team, and I’m not too positive about that happening right now.
That being said, this competition was just a warm-up for a challenging season. Later this year, we’re going to see many upgrades and new routines, considering this could be Italy’s largest field ever from which to select the Olympic team. With the second meet of the Serie A in Ancona on 5th March and especially with the Jesolo competition on 19th March, things will surely become more and more interesting.
Article: Giuly Holzer
Cover Photo: Myriam Cawston