Olympic Prep Part 4: Mixed Group 3

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Giulia Steingruber
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Mixed Group 3 contains quite a few names that we already now as well as 2 fresh faces. In this group is an athlete from Sweden who has an excellent chance of not only making Vault Event Finals but also medaling. Mixed Group 3 has athletes from Poland, Croatia, Switzerland, and 2 fresh faces from Puerto Rico, and Slovakia.

Watch for! Giulia Steingruber making the AA and VT EF and potentially medalling in VT. She's definitely a threat to the vaulting trio - Maroney, Izbasa, Chusovitna.

Marta Pihan-Kulesza, Poland (POL)
Marta Pihan-Kulesza is a well known athlete in Europe. Pihan-Kulesza is often sporting braids with colored glitter matching her leotard. She finished 30th at the test event, after an error on balance beam, to earn her Olympic spot. Pihan-Kulesza attended the 2008 Olympics and was 46th in qualification for the all-around and failed to make it to the final. At the recent 2012 European Championships, she placed 7th in the unofficial all-around and earned a 14.166 on balance beam where she does a standing arabian. On uneven bars, she does a clear hip Shaposh transition from low to high bar and a very nice and interesting 1.5 pirouette right before she dismounts with a double front. [Fun Fact: Her last name is hyphenated because she is married to fellow Polish MAG Olympian Roman Kulesza!]

D-Scores: VT - 5.0, UB - 5.7, BB - 5.4, FX - 5.5
Routine: Watch her UB from 2012 European Championships event finals here or below





Tina Erceg, Croatia (CRO)
Like Pihan-Kulesza, Erceg is well known on the World Cup circuit. Erceg placed 43rd at the Test Event with her strongest scores on vault and floor exercise. She also attended the 2008 Olympics and placed 57th but did not advance to the finals. On beam, she does a double turn as well as a jump 1.5 turn (old school). Erceg has clean gymnasts but is also known for her leotard choices. I'm pretty sure she changed between events at one meet!

D-Scores: VT - 5.0, UB - 5.0, BB - 5.0, FX - 5.3
Routine:  Watch her gold medal winning routine from Maribor Cup 2012 here or below


Giulia Steingruber, Switzerland (SUI)
Steingruber is undoubtedly going to the Olympics looking for a medal in vault event finals. Steingruber has been on the scene for a little while now. In 2010, she was teammate with Swedish vaulting super star Ariella Kaeslin. Kaeslin has since retired and Steingruber has done an excellent job filling those shoes. Interestingly, Kaeslin didn't have 2 vaults at Europeans 2010. At 2010 Worlds, she was vaulting a vault with a 5.3 SV. [Here she is in 2010 vaulting a front handspring - front pike 1/2 with a 5.0 SV.] At Europeans 2011, she and Kaeslin made it to the vault finals. Steingruber was in 1st going into vault event finals with start values of 6.3 (Rudi - front handspring, 1.5 twist off) and 5.2 (Tsukahara full). However, she fell on her Rudi and finished in 6th place. At 2011 Worlds, she made event finals but finished in 5th place after a large step on her Rudi. Steingruber finally medaled at a major international event at the 2012 European Championships where she earned 3rd place.

Steingruber earned her spot by placing 7th at the test event and should easily make the all around final at the Olympics. On beam, she has a switch split-side somi, an interesting connection. On floor, she has a double layout and some lovely choreography to (a song that I can't remember right now).

D-Scores: VT (falls but has better form than below) - 6.3/5.2 , UB - 5.7, BB - 5.6, FX - 5.5
Routine: Watch her earn bronze on VT at 2012 European Championships here or below.



Lorena Quinones Moreno, Puerto Rico (PUR)
Lorena Quinones must be excited to represent Puerto Rico at the Olympics. Even at events like Pan Am, Puerto Rico has not been able to put together a full team. Now, they have a driven athlete competing at the Olympics. Quinones placed 61stat the test event with her best score on vault. On bars, she has a jaeger and dismounts with either a double pike as competed at the Test Event or a giant 1/2 to double front as competed at Ghent Challenger Cup 2012 (watch here). On floor, she has some excellent tumbing. She opens with an explosive tucked full in, has a double arabian and dismounts with a strong double pike. I also enjoy her closing sequence. Lorena is also in the Thank You Mom P&G Puerto Rico. Watch it here.

D-Scores: VT - 5.0, UB - 4.5, BB - 5.1, FX - 5.2
Routine: Watch her Test Event FX here or below



Maria Homolova, Slovakia (SVK)
Homolova was 62nd at the Test Event where she qualified to London. She is another gymnast that is hard to find (recent) information on. She has a Comaneci salto on UB! On beam, she does a front layout step out to immediate 1/4 back handspring as well as a full twisting wolf turn. On floor, she has a really nice double pike and has a double turn with leg at knee as well as a double L turn for dance elements. The music has a lovely smooth Spanish guitar beat and has nice accompanying choreography.

D-Scores: VT - 4.4, UB - 5.0, BB - 4.3, FX - 4.4
Routine: Watch her UB with a Comaneci salto from 2011 here or below



Check out the others in the series here:
Mixed Group 8 - Laura Svilpaite (LTU), Heem Wei Lim (SIN), Maria Paula Vargas (ESP), Ralitsa Mileva (BUL), Sherine Ahmed El Zeiny (EGY)

Mixed Group 7 - Barbara Gasser (AUT), Jessica Gil Ortiz (COL), Nastassia Marachkouskaya (BLR), Jessica Lopez (VEN), Luiza Galiulina (UZB)

Mixed Group 6 - Jonna Adlerteg (SWE), Vasiliki Millousi (GRE), Valeria Pereyra (ARG), Annika Urvikko (FIN), Heo Seon Mi (KOR)

Mixed Group 5 - Phan Thi Ha Thanh (VIE), Sasa Golob (SLO), Celine Van Gerner (NED), Simona Castro Lazo (CHI), Salma Mahmoud El Said Mohamed (EGY)

Mixed Group 4 - Do Thi Ngan Thuong (VIE), Nataliya Kononenko (UKR), Zoi Mafalda Marques de Lima (POR), Valeriia Maksyuta (ISR)

Mixed Group 3 - Marta Pihan-Kulesza (POL), Tina Erceg (CRO), Giulia Steingruber (SUI), Lorena Quinones Moreno (PUR), Maria Homolova (SVK)

Mixed Group 2 - Elsa Garcia (MEX), Julie Croket Gaelle Mys (BEL), Moldir Azimbay (KAZ), Goksu Uctas (TUR), Ana Sofia Gomez Porras (GUA)

Mixed Group 1 - Kristyna Palesova (CZE), Yamilet Pena Abreu (DOM), Hiu Ying Angel Wong (HKG), Dorina Boczogo (HUN)

[Confusing] Country Codes

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