France’s Melanie De Jesus dos Santos wins European all-around crown
In a thrilling final where the very last routine decided the order of the medals, Melanie de Jesus dos Santos became only the second French woman to win the European all-around title, after Marine Debauve’s victory in 2005. De Jesus dos Santos performed strongly on all four events with her a score of 13.600 on floor sealing the deal for her. But just! You could feel the tension in Szczecin’s Netto Arena as the score was flashed on the big cube: just 0.068 separated first from second place. With tears of joy in her eyes, De Jesus dos Santos said:
At first it was mentally tough as I didn’t have a very good start on vault. Later, on beam, I performed very well and I realised something could happen. I told myself to grab any tenth possible by going strong and clean aiming for the medal. I was both nervous and relaxed. Hearing my teammates cheer for me helped me a lot. This gold medal represents all the work done in training
Keen to defend her 2017 European all-around crown, Great Britain’s Ellie Downie was all smiles during the competition and visibly relieved to finish her beam routine with a great dismount. A strong performance on floor put her at the top of the leader board. She happily settled for silver though:
This feels absolutely amazing and not what I expected coming in to these championships. I’ve had a long journey returning from injury and this result proves I’m back. I put everything into today and just went for it. Finishing my last tumble on floor was just a massive relief – I was so happy. It’s a big result for me and there’s still more to come but I definitely feel like I’m back and to win the silver medal is massive for me.
Top qualifier Angelina Melnikova (RUS) started strong on vault and bars but lost valuable points on beam. Last up on floor, her routine didn’t score high enough to overtake the two leaders. Italy’s talented juniors now turned seniors Alice D’Amato and Giorgia Villa finished fourth and sixth respectively while Ukraine’s Anastasia Bachynska and Diana Varinska both made the top 8, in fifth and seventh place. More pride for France as Lorette Charpy finished eighth.
Results (top 8)
Melanie de Jesus dos Santos (FRA) 55.433
Ellie Downie (GBR) 55.365
Angelina Melnikova (RUS) 55.065
Alice D’Amato (ITA) 53.233
Anastasia Bachynska (UKR) 53.133
Giorgia Villa (ITA) 52.999
Diana Varinska (UKR) 52.999
Lorette Charpy (FRA) 52.433