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Steingruber, Vernyayev Win European Championships
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Giulia Steingruber (Switzerland) and Oleg Vernyayev (Ukraine) struck gold in the all-around Friday at the European Championships in Montpellier. Pictured: All-around runner-up David Belyavsky and Vernyayev

Giulia Steingruber (Switzerland) and Oleg Vernyayev (Ukraine) struck gold Friday at the European Championships in Montpellier, where she became the first Swiss gymnast to win the European all-around title.

Steingruber won the women's all-around title Friday afternoon, scoring 57.873 to top Russian Maria Kharenkova (57.132) and British first-year senior Ellie Downie (56.623).

The 21-year-old Swiss star had her top score of the day on vault, where she is the two-time defending champion. Her 15.266 for her layout Rudi was the second-highest score of any event, behind only Russian gymnast's Daria Spiridonova's 15.350 on uneven bars. Steingruber notched the highest score on floor exercise (beautiful full-in double layout; double layout; double tuck; double pike; 14.566) and 14.375 on balance beam. Her lowest score (13.666) came on her final event, uneven bars, where she was penalized for loose form, but hit nevertheless (Maloney-half; toe-full to sky-high Gienger; Pak; Maloney-uprise-pirouette to giant blind-Markelov; double front) to clinch the historic title.

"I'm on a little cloud," the satisfied Steingruber said. "This title means a lot to me."

Kharenkova, the top qualifier, likely lost the title in the first rotation, when she came up short on a inside-Stalder-blind. She once again had the highest score on balance beam, the only gymnast to reach the 15.000 mark. Though capable of beautiful shapes and lines, Kharenkova's tiny size is a serious hindrance; she lost 1.2 points in Difficulty score alone on vault to Steingruber.

Downie also made history, becoming the first British women to win a European all-around medal. The emotional Downie burst into tears after ending on vault, where she just scraped past Italy's Erika Fasana for the bronze.

"Coming in to the championships I was maybe hoping for top 10 as it’s my first senior event and to win a medal is incredible," said Downie, who will be in Saturday's uneven bars finals with elder sister Becky Downie. "I've never felt so nervous going to vault even though it's my strongest apparatus. I knew I was right up there in with a chance of a medal so to then land that safely was a huge relief, I just burst into tears."

Sweden's Jonna Adlerteg suffered a torn ACL on floor exercise in the first rotation.

In the men's competition on Friday evening, favorite and top qualifier Oleg Vernyayev delivered to become Ukraine's first European all-around champion since Alina Kozich in 2004 and the late Alexander Beresch in 2000. Vernyayev cemented his status as one of gymnastics' brightest stars, defeating defending champion David Belyavsky (Russia) and British veteran Dan Purvis.

Vernyayev scored less than he had in qualification, but still won by more than a full point, outscoring Belyavsky, 89.582-88.131. Vernyayev began on vault with a gigantic Dragulescu, which he looked ready to stick but ended up saving by taking several steps back. On parallel bars, the world champion earned 16.116, the highest score so far in Montpellier. After surviving his weak event, high bar (13.900), Vernyayev's biggest test came on pommel horse. He came up big, earning an incredible 6.9-Difficulty mark for 15.000, the best score on horse all day. Vernyayev, who surprisingly fell on his still rings in the all-around final at last year's world championships, did not disappoint Friday, nailing yet another high score, 15.233, to secure the title.

Runner-up Belyavsky once again struggled on pommel horse but altogether had a much better day than in Thursday's qualification, when his 85.864 was just sixth best: "It's like the first time I ever competed!" he told reporters Thursday."I'm totally confused because I don't understand what happened at all. Just a terrible performance." He regrouped in finals as promised: His 15.100 for Tsukahara double pike was the best score of the medalists, and he ranked just behind Purvis on floor exercise, 14.933-14.900. He was also the second best score on parallel bars (15.566) and third best on high bar (14.466).

Purvis, also third in qualification, said he was thrilled with his second European all-around medal, four years after taking bronze in Berlin.

"This means so much to me, to be selected to do all around for Great Britain is a big challenge and to have this medal round me neck is amazing," said Purvis, who missed the 2014 Worlds with injury. "There's some really strong young talent coming through so I've had to work really hard to stay up. My maths isn't the best but I knew I needed to end well on pommel and it worked out, I'm really happy."

Competition continues Saturday with the first day of apparatus finals.

External Link: Official Website

2015 European Championships
April 17, Montpellier, France

Women's All-Around FinalVTUBBBFXTotal
1.Giulia Steingruber6.215.2665.713.6665.914.3756.014.56657.873
2.Maria Kharenkova5.013.9336.014.0666.415.0005.814.13357.132
3.Ellie Downie5.814.8335.914.2335.513.8915.613.66656.623
4.Erika Fasana5.814.5335.613.5005.513.9416.214.50056.474
5.Marta Pihan-Kulesza5.013.7335.613.9665.613.3335.814.16655.198
6.Claudia Fragapane5.814.5335.213.4005.612.4336.214.53354.899
7.Laura Jurca5.814.7665.512.8665.513.5005.513.73354.865
8.Ana Filipa Martins5.013.8335.413.7335.313.3005.613.83354.699
9.Martina Rizzelli5.814.3336.013.9005.213.1005.613.33354.666
10.Diana Bulimar5.013.7665.313.5335.713.6665.613.66654.631
11.Loan His5.013.9585.913.9664.512.6665.213.53354.123
12.Eythora Thorsdottir5.013.7005.613.9665.513.4664.512.66653.798
13.Daria Spiridonova5.013.7006.715.3505.012.1665.212.30053.516
14.Ana Pérez5.013.7665.712.9665.313.4665.512.46652.664
15.Ainhoa Carmona5.013.6004.712.7005.113.2664.512.50052.066
16.Claire Martin4.012.7004.111.6665.613.7665.313.83351.965
17.Barbora Mokošová5.013.7005.112.9005.012.7004.612.56651.866
18.Pauline Tratz5.013.9004.911.8004.412.5005.113.26651.466
19.Houry Gebeshian5.013.6334.812.6664.612.2664.712.63351.198
20.Dyonnailys Supriana5.013.5005.012.7665.811.7005.013.10051.066
21.Jessica Diacci4.412.6005.312.0665.513.3005.112.93350.899
22.Kitti Honti4.613.2665.312.7334.311.5664.912.60050.165
23.Krystyna Sankova5.013.8004.711.3005.310.8335.513.43349.366
24.Jonna Adlerteg4.011.16611.166

Men's All-Around FinalFXPHSRVTPBHBTotal
1.Oleg Vernyayev5.714.4006.915.0006.515.2336.014.9336.916.1166.013.90089.582
2.David Belyavsky6.514.9005.813.5666.014.5336.015.1006.615.5666.214.46688.131
3.Dan Purvis6.314.9336.114.5666.114.4335.614.6916.615.0005.613.80087.423
4.Artur Davtyan5.314.1415.814.4835.714.5666.015.1335.114.5415.013.50086.364
5.Oleg Stepko5.914.5006.114.6006.413.8585.614.6006.815.1665.913.50086.224
6.Sam Oldham6.214.7666.214.6666.113.9665.614.5665.913.4336.814.79186.188
7.Dmitry Barkalov6.013.6335.713.8916.114.1005.214.4335.514.3666.514.53384.956
8.Christian Baumann5.514.2665.813.8665.514.0665.213.9586.414.9336.213.86684.955
9.Petro Pakhnyuk6.214.1006.414.5336.013.8415.614.2006.514.5336.113.63384.840
10.Claudio Capelli6.115.0666.014.1335.213.7005.214.2416.014.9665.612.50084.606
11.Nikolai Kuksenkov6.013.5006.313.6336.314.6665.614.3666.013.2336.614.56683.964
12.Nikolaos Iliopoulos5.413.9005.613.9665.613.4665.214.3006.014.5665.213.73383.931
13.Stian Skjerahaug5.614.2006.014.3005.113.1085.214.4665.314.1005.313.43383.607
14.Rokas Guščinas4.913.9666.014.7665.413.8254.813.9335.414.0165.312.40082.906
15.Mykyta Yermak5.814.2005.813.9665.413.1665.214.0665.414.5335.212.96682.897
16.Ludovico Edalli5.712.0666.013.8665.313.3335.214.3336.114.5336.413.73381.864
17.Oskar Kirmes6.114.3005.512.8335.313.8335.213.9005.413.4665.613.30081.632
18.Alberto Fernández6.014.6665.812.3006.213.9585.614.5335.813.1335.313.03381.623
19.Marios Georgiou5.513.9255.513.9005.213.0335.214.3005.312.9335.313.50081.591
20.Axel Augis5.914.2665.512.3665.313.1335.613.3335.814.7165.913.50081.314
21.Maxime Gentges5.514.0665.714.4085.313.5005.213.0005.613.9005.212.30081.174
22.Artem Dolgopyat6.414.6005.312.7004.412.1335.214.3335.213.0665.313.33380.165
23.Tomas Kuzmickas6.314.2334.511.4004.713.0665.214.2005.413.4335.213.36679.698
24.Ferhat Arıcan5.512.3005.312.7085.411.9505.614.7665.913.3665.513.26678.356
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