Laura Jurca, seventh at the Youth Olympic Games

                    Just a few years ago, the famous school of gymnastics in Deva presented a new generation of gymnasts with a lot of potential for the Rio Olympic Games. Among those gymnasts who openly declared their love for the uneven bars were Andreea Iridon, Adela Florea, Laura Jurca or Mădălina Blendea. Two of them (Iridon and Jurca) now train at the Bucharest Olympic Center with their then Deva coaches, Adela Popa and Ioan Coroiu and represented Romania successfully at this year’s Junior European Championships. Moreover, Laura was chosen to represent Romania at the Youth Olympic Games, a competition which takes place once every four years. Laura travelled to China together with coach Adela Popa and successfully competed in Monday’s qualification. She was the only gymnast to make five out of five finals.

                   Back in 2010, at the first edition of this competition, Diana Bulimar and Andrei Muntean won three medals with the latter becoming Romania’s first Youth Olympic champion, on rings. As this year the Romanian men were not able to qualify for this competition, it is entirely up to Laura to bring a medal for Romanian gymnastics. Her first shot at a medal was in today’s All-around event, where she competed alongside Great Britain’s Elissa Downie, Russia’s Seda Tutkhalyan or Brasil’s Flavia Saraiva.

                   The competition started in the olympic order, on one of Laura’s best events, the vault, where she showed again a good double twisting Yurchenko. All the medal favorites competed on this event as well, with all of them showing vaults of at least 5.8 difficulty (Wang Yan even showed a Tsukahara 1 ½ for 6.0 in difficulty). Elissa Downie, the current Junior European champion on vault, received the highest score here while Laura improved on her qualification mark with a 14.600. She was fourth after the first rotation.

                   The competition continued with uneven bars, an apparatus on which Laura’s generation has been working a lot in recent years. She showed two release skills (Hindorff and Ginger) but the execution score did not help. She was down one place in the standings at the end of this rotation.

                   On beam, Russia’s Seda Tutkhalyan scored her third 14 of the competition while Laura received exactly one point less for her routine. At the end of the beam rotation, Laura was exactly one point from making the third place of the podium, a difference that would be difficult to annul.

                   The floor disappointed many of the medal contenders today, with Laura amongst them. She did not manage to control her landings and was pushed back into seventh place in the final ranking. Despite a fall at the end of her floor routine, Seda Tutkhalyan managed to maintain her lead and win the Youth Olympic title over Flavia Saraiva and Elissa Downie. Although it was clearly not Laura’s day today, she still has four more chances to medal this weekend, when the event finals will be held. 

This post is also available in: Romanian