2012 promises to be an incredible gymnastics year!! And it kicks off with the Olympic Test Event in London, Great Britain. 8 teams qualified based on their performances. Italy, France, Canada, Spain, Netherlands, Brazil, South Korea, and Belgium. Only 4 can move on to the Olympics. Here’s a profile of the teams.
Backed by former world and european champion Vanessa Ferrari and some talented rising stars, Italy looks like they have a spot in the Olympics Clinched. Their team consists of Vanessa Ferrari, Carlota Ferlito, Erika Fasana, Francesca de Agostini, Elisabetta Prezioza, and Giorgia Campana. Emily Armi is the alternate. Beam and vault seem to be the events where they take their lead. Floor is good for them but, bars can be tricky. They were only 11th on bars and finished lower than Romania who had a very bad bar session in quals. However, they’ve switched up their team dropping 2008 Olympic AA finalist Lia Parolari and Chiara Gandolfi in favor of new senior Erika Fasana and Giorgia Campana. They look to be the frontrunners at the moment and if they keep it up, they’ll have 5 tickets punched to London.
France had a great qualifications this year, moving up a place from last year and securing their Test Event slot. However, since then, things haven’t gone so well. France’s only allaround finalist 2 years in a row, Aurelie Malaussena has an injury and it is unknown whether she’ll be ready for next week. But, they are boasting 2011 World bars finalist Youna Dufornet who scored a 15.033 in qualifications and Marine Brevet, France’s best allarounder. The rest of the bunch(Clara Vedova, Sophia Serseri, Mira Boumemejon) are all good team players as well and Boumemejon can post very good bar scores as well. They look to be fighting for runner up to Italy. Look out for them!!
One of the surprises of 2011, they looked like they could challenge for a Team final spot in training but it didn’t pan out as well as many hoped. still, they qualified for the Test event. They have an extremely good vaulting team, with the most doubles in the competition, around 4 or 5. This could alone close the gap between them and Italy and possibly clinch it for them.This already gives them an edge up on other teams and the fact that they have just added junior superstar Viktoria Moors who can increase the scoring potential by at least a good point. In addition, there roster includes daredevil Peng-Peng Lee, powerful Talia Chiarelli, Beautiful Maddie Gardiner, graceful Mikaela Gerber, and veterans Kristina Vaculik and Brittany Rogers. Qualifying would be redemption for Vaculik who would have made the team had they had a better worlds last quad.
One of the most improved teams of 2011, they jumped 6 places to 12th place!! There team consists of Ana Izurieta, Maria Vargas, Claudia Menendez, Beatrix Cuesta, Silvia Colussi and Carmona Urbano. They have a huge double on vault from Menendez who also boasts a difficult floor set. For the most part, they aren’t as flashy as there competitors but they have gotten much more consistent. This team is trying to put Spain back on the gymnastics map and a good meet at the Test Event could help solidify them back onto it. As long as they can harness all their power and mental prowess and combine the two, they could be wonderful.
Coming off the 2011 Worlds, they looked like they could challenge for a spot but it appears very implausible now. There superstar Celine Van Gerner is nursing a foot injury sustained in Tokyo, Yvette Moshage tore her ACL in Stuttgart and Joy Goedkoop is reported to be down as well. They put up excellent scores for them across the 4 events and Celine especially on bars where she can score in the 14’s and was a European finalist.This leaves a much weaker team with lots of newbies like Ayla Wilbrink and Lisa Top. As well as Sanne Wevers little sister Lieke, 2010 junior Olympian Tess Moonen, and Wyomi Masela. Lastly Noel van Klaveren. They don’t really seem to be ready to challenge for a team spot but they could qualify one or two athletes to the games.
Even with the fall, it is a great routine. Note the standing arabian.
The team in crisis. Infighting and laziness in practices was reported to be occuring between the girls and it showed when they finished a 14th in Tokyo and a disappointing 5th behind Columbia and Mexico in Guadalajara. In fact, they finished almost 5 points behind Mexico!! They are lead by 2003 world floor champ Daiane Dos Santos and 2001 world silver medalist on floor Daniele Hypolito. Among the others are 2007 world all around bronze medalist Jade Barbosa, 2009 world all around finalist Bruna Leal, Priscilla Cobello and Gabriela Soares. They looked out of contention at thelast 2 team competitions and they’ll have to heal their relationships with each other before they can qualify a team to London.
A bit of a shock after a 20th place finish last year, they moved up 5 places with many falls. In training, the girls looked fabulous on bars and beam, as well as having very nice choreo on floor. Vault was their best event where they finished 6th out of 24. They’re well-known vault star, 2010 vault finalist, Jo HyunJoo, is thought to be their leader. Helping her qualify a team is Ji Hye Sung who looked to be a well needed help to them at the Junior Japan finishing 3rd, their second best vaulter Kim Doyoung, excellent bar workers Heo Seon Mi and Kyung Jin Park and finally Eum Eunhui. They aren’t the most consistent but they do some great gymnastics. They could move up a few places and possibly into the top 4 with Sung’s help and some more consistency. Seeing a team from South Korea would be great for the Olympics and many people will be hoping they do well at the Test Event.
Look at that stick!!!! What confidence!!
The last qualifier to the Test Event, Belgium has some good gymnastics to show the world but it would take nothing short of a miracle for them to earn a berth for their team. Their superstar from Euros, Croket, was not in the best of shape in the leadup, and in a recent dual meet opted to skip bars. Aagje Vanwelleghem seems to be the girl with the biggest chance to qualify her self to London from her bars.She has big difficulty and performs very well. She could easily place top 3 on bars which would secure her an Olympic spot. And if that doesn’t come to fruition, she still has her fall back of the all around where she should easily be top 24. Reigning Olympian Gaelle Mys is in the mix and will do her best to bolster their performances. Like in every play, there are always the people with the smaller parts. These girls; Johanna Dejardin, Terry Grandr’y, and Lisa Vershuruen all deserve honarable mention for there small parts to help the team. The prospect of qualifying a team is something foreign to Belgium, never before have they qualified a full team in a modern olympics and this is there one shot.
Check Out Vanwelleghem’s bars from Euros, 14.35 even with the huge dismount step.