Venezuela’s Jessica López Takes 2nd AA at Nadia Comaneci Invitational

(photo by jb) Venezuela’s two-time Olympian Jessica López Arocha competed in the 2014 Nadia Comaneci Invitational on February 22, 2014, taking second All-Around to Australia’s Georgia Godwin. The Nadia Invitational is a popular event, but one that does not tend to attract the very top competitors in international gymnastics. The event seems to appeal more to senior teams from second-tier nations and top international junior talent. But the presence of one or more past or future Olympians is typical, and to have a gymnast of López’s stature participate is a real audience treat.

Two-time Australian junior champion in 2011-12, Godwin took the senior all-around title and also helped Australia to the team title, edging out WOGA with a score of 110.85 to 109.30. Godwin’s all-around score of 55.80 bested López’s 55.35 score, which was dragged down by a controversial low score on vault. Godwin’s Australian teammate Georgia-Rose Brown tied for third with WOGA’s Samantha Ogden at 53.75

In the juniors, Russian Irina Alexeeva (coached by Valery Liukin at WOGA) took the all-around with a score of 53.20, with the Romanian pair of Ioana Crisan (53.00)and Olivia Cimpian (52.65) taking second and third, respectively.

López, apparently viewing this event largely as a warm-up, entered the event intending to compete only two events, according to [b]International Gymnast[b] magazine, but wound up doing the all-around. Thus she had not trained competition routines in two events, but nevertheless made a strong showing in all four. Seemingly on her way to victory, López’s downfall came on vault, where a big step forward upon landing a double-twisting Yurchenko was deemed a fall by the judges, though a puzzled and disappointed López said her knee never touched the ground.

International Gymnast has a detailed article on the 2014 Nadia Comaneci Invitational with results and lots of great photos in its March issue.

Photo of Jessica López Arocha competing at ESPN2’s Pro Gymnastics Challenge ©2014 J Bierbaum / www.fotosportif.com