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Semyonova Captures European Crown
(13 votes, average 4.23 out of 5)

2008 Olympian Ksenia Semyonova (Russia) captured the all-around gold medal Saturday at the European Gymnastics Championships in Milan.

Ksenia Semyonova (Russia), 2009 European champion

Semyonova (58.175) and teammate Ksenia Afanasyeva (57.600) finished 1-2 in a strong comeback for the Russia women, who won no medals at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Switzerland's Ariella Käslin (57.275) won the bronze, a historic best for the Swiss women.

Semyonova led throughout the competition despite an uneven performance on uneven bars (14.975), where she is the reining world and European champion. She used a simpler routine, overarched several handstands and stumbled to the side on the dismount, but stayed on the apparatus. Her routines on balance beam (several balance checks) and floor exercise (low landing on full-in mount, step out of bounds on double pike dismount) were not error-free, but her artistic flair combined with the mistakes of the rest of the field helped her float to victory. She clinched the title in the fourth rotation with a 14.225 on vault (Yurchenko 1 1/2).

Both Semyonova and Afanasyeva hail from Tula, and are coached by Marina Nazarova.

"After the results of the qualification, it already was clear that Ksyusha has the highest start value among all participants at this competition," Nazarova said of Semyonova. "Therefore today it was all about, as they say, making this competition 'her own.' [Perform] stably, cleanly, without errors. It is even good that she fell on bars in qualification — after that I pretty much did not worry about this event in the final. Ksyusha is one of those girls who does not make the same mistake twice, they only focus on the skill even more. And today she proved it."

Afanasyeva redeemed herself after placing 20th in Thursday's qualification (three falls). In Saturday's finals, she was a replacement for teammate Kristina Goryunova (16th in qualification). Afanasyeva began the competition with a clean double-twisting Yurchenko, and matched Semyonova's score on uneven bars (Shaposhnikova-half). She fell off balance beam in the third rotation on a punch front, but remained in second place, and clinched the silver medal on floor exercise (14.525) with stuck tumbling (piked full-in, 2 1/2 punch layout front, double pike).

Fourth after three rotations, Käslin clinched a surprise bronze medal with a 15.300 on vault in the final rotation. The previous best result for a Swiss female at the Europeans was ninth by Melanie Marti in 2005.

Romania's Anamaria Tamarjan, second in qualification, took herself out of the running with a fall on floor exercise (double layout) in the first rotation (12.700). She finished fifth behind Spain's Ana Maria Izurieta.

Tamarjan's teammate Diana Chelaru, 14th, also fell in the first rotation, coming off beam on a side somi.

At the halfway mark of the competition, defending champion Vanessa Ferrari of Italy was in fourth place after hit routines on balance beam and floor exercise. She attempted to upgrade her vault to a double-twisting Yurchenko but crashed badly, failing to get the twist around and falling onto her stomach. She finished ninth.

The competition continues Saturday afternoon with the men's all-around final.

Click here to download results.

2009 European Championships
April 4, Milan, Italy

Women's All-Around FinalVTUBBBFXTotal
1.Ksenia Semyonova14.22514.92514.80014.22558.175
2.Ksenia Afanasyeva14.52514.92513.57514.57557.600
3.Ariella Käslin15.30013.97514.30013.70057.275
4.Ana Maria Izurieta14.85013.17514.30014.00056.325
5.Anamaria Tamarjan14.65013.97514.60012.70055.925
6.Aagje Van Walleghem14.20014.12513.67513.90055.900
7.Marine Petit14.15013.65013.80014.00055.600
8.Anja Brinker13.65015.00013.25013.52555.425
9.Vanessa Ferrari12.70013.87514.07514.52555.175
10.Marta Pihan-Kulesza13.60014.20013.65013.70055.150
11.Becky Downie14.32515.00011.70014.05055.075
12.Yana Demyanchuk13.62513.70014.50013.17555.000
13.Yasmin Zimmermann14.10012.92513.50014.00054.525
14.Diana Chelaru14.67513.52511.90014.40054.500
15.Mayra Kroonen13.97513.50013.32513.67554.475
16.Kim Bui14.15014.40011.57514.25054.375
17.Hannah Whelan13.55013.92513.75013.10054.325
18.Valentyna Holenkova13.60014.40013.32512.82554.150
19.Youna Dufournet13.70013.70013.87511.75053.025
20.Valeria Maksyuta14.02511.80013.72513.27552.825
21.Wyomi Masela14.05012.52512.45013.65052.675
22.Naomi Ruiz Walker14.25010.65013.05013.65051.600
23.Laura Gombas13.40010.05011.17513.07547.700
24.Emily Armi13.6252.00012.92513.82542.375
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