Saturday, July 23, 2016

Rio 2016 - The Athletes

Greek gymnast Eleftherios Petrounias had the honor of starting the Olympic Torch Relay

Below you can find a list of both male and female gymnasts set to compete at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. The first 8 teams are in order of their ranking at the 2015 World Championships. Teams 9-12 are based on their rankings from the Test Event. The next set of 4 athletes are from teams that competed at the Test Event but did not get to send a full squad to the Olympics. After that, you have the athletes that automatically qualified based on a top 3 individual finish in an event final at the 2015 World Championships. Then, you have the athletes as they were ranked at the Test Event.

ROSTER
WAGMAG
IOCNameIOCName
USASimone Biles
Gabrielle Douglas
Laurie Hernandez
Madison Kocian
Aly Raisman
alt - Locklear, Skinner, Smith
JPNRyohei Kato
Kenzo Shirai
Yusuke Tanaka
Kohei Uchimura
Koji Yamamuro
RUSAngelina Melnikova
Aliya Mustafina
Maria Paseka
Daria Spiridonova
Seda Tutkhalyan
alt - Shelgunova, Kapitonova, Ekhaimova
CHNDeng Shudi
Lin Chaopan
Liu Yang
You Hao
Zhang Chenglong
GBRBecky Downie
Ellie Downie
Claudia Fragapane
Ruby Harrold
Amy Tinkler
alt - Gabby Jupp, Kelly Simm, 
GBRBrinn Bevan
Louis Smith
Kristian Thomas
Max Whitlock
Nile Wilson
CHNFan Yilin
Mao Yi
Shang Chunsong
Tan Jiaxin
Wang Yan
RUSDenis Ablyazin
David Belyavskiy
Nikita Ignatyev
Nikolai Kuksenkov
Nikita Nagornyy
ITAErika Fasana
Carlotta Ferlito
Vanessa Ferrari
Elisa Meneghini
Martina Rizelli
alt: Lara Mori
USAChris Brooks
Jake Dalton
Danell Leyva
Sam Mikulak
Alex Naddour
JPNSae Miyakawa
Mai Murakami
Aiko Sugihara
Asuka Teramoto
Yuki Uchiyama
SUIChristian Baumann
Pablo Braegger
Benjamin Gischard
Oliver Hegi
Eddy Yusof
CANEllie Black
Shallon Olsen
Isabela Onyshko
Brittany Rogers
Rose Kaying Woo
alt: Roberts, Copiak
BRAArthur Nabarrete Zanetti
Arthur Nory Oyakawa Mariano
Diego Hypolito
Francisco Carlos Barretto Junior
Sergio Sasaki Junior
NED
Eythora Thorsdottir
Lieke Wevers
Sanne Wevers
Celine van Gerner
Vera van Pol
KORKim Hansol
Lee Sangwook
Park Minsoo
Shin Donghyen
Yoo Wonchul
Teams 9-12 at Test Event
BRARebeca Andrade
Jade Barbosa
Daniele Hypolito
Lorrane Oliveira
Flavia Saraiva
alt: Carolyne Pedro
GERAndreas Bretschneider
Lukas Dauser
Fabian Hambuechen
Marcel Nguyen
Andreas Toba
GERTabea Alt
Kim Bui
Pauline Schaefer
Sophie Scheder
Elisabeth Seitz
alt: Pauline Tratz
UKROleg Verniaev
Igor Radivilov
Vladyslav Kryko
Maksym Semiankiv
Andrii Sienichkin
BELSenna Deriks
Nina Derwael
Rune Hermans
Gaelle Mys
Laura Waem
alt - Vandenhole, Meyers
NEDBart Deurloo
Frank Rijken
Jeffrey Wammes
Yuri van Gelder
Epke Zonderland
FRAMarine Boyer
Marine Brevet
Loan His
Louise Vanhille
Oreane Lechenault
FRASamir Ait Said
Axel Augis
Julien Gobaux
Danny Pinheiro-Rodrigues
Cyril Tommasone
Individuals from Remaining Teams at Test Event
AUSLarrissa MillerROUAndrei Muntean
SUIGiulia SteingruberESPNestor Abad
ROUCatalina PonorBELDennis Goossens
KORLee Go ImCANScott Morgan
Automatic Qualifiers from World Championships 2015
PRKHong Un JongESPRayderley Zapata
ARMHarutyun Merdinyan
GREEleftherios Petrounias
PRKRi Se Gwang
ROUMarian Dragulescu
AZEOleg Stepko
CUBManrique Larduet
Individual Qualifiers from Test Event
GUAAna Sofia GomezCOLJossimar Calvo
VENJessica LopezMEXDaniel Corral
GREVasiliki MillousiBLRAndrey Likhovitskiy
HUNZsofia KovacsISRAlexander Shatilov
ESPAna PerezTURFerhat Arican
UKRAngelina KyslaARMArtur Davtyan
MEXAlexa MorenoCUBRandy Leru
CUBMarcia VidiauxCROFilip Ude
PORAna Filipa MartinsAZEPetro Pakhnyuk
POLKatarzyna Jurkowska-KowalskaUZBAnton Fokin
AUTLisa EckerFINOskar Kirmes
JAMToni-Ann WilliamsITALudovico Edalli
ISLIrina SazonovaNORStian Skjerahaug
VIEPhan Thi Ha ThanhCZEDavid Jessen
INDDipa KarmakarLTURobert Tvorogal
SVKBarbora MokosovaVIEPham Phuoc Hung
NZLCourtney McGregorCYPMarios Georgiou
UZBOksana ChusovitinaIRLKieran Behan
ARMHoury GebeshianGREVlasios Maras
PERAriana OrregoARGNicolas Cordoba
CHISimona CastroNZLMikhail Koudinov
SLOTeja BelakRSARyan Patterson
TURTutya YilmazCHITomas Gonzalez
SWEEmma LarssonHUNVid Hidvegi
TTOMarisa DickTPELee Chih Kai
CROAna DerekALGMohamed Abdeldjalil Bourguieg (C)
COLCatalina Escobar GomezMONKevin Crovetto (T)
BLRKylie Dickson
IRLEllis O'Reilly
ARGAilen Valente
ALGFarah Boufadene (C)
EGYSherine El-Zeiny (C)
PANIsabella Amado (T)

(C) denotes continental spot
(T) denotes tripartite spot

If Russia is truly banned from participating in the Olympics, the next team in rank is Australia for the women and Romania for the men.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Olympic Preview: Team China


Team China has been a bit of a mystery to me. Most of the information we get is through the Chinese gymternet and the people kind enough to share it with us on tumblr. The Olympic team has been announced and there has already been a replacement due to injury. The current team consists of Shang Chunsong, Fan Yilin, Wang Yan, Mao Yi, and Tan Jiaxin.

Shang Chunsong is now the veteran of the team. She made her international debut in 2012 at the Pacific Rim Championship. Since then, she has gone on to 3 World Championships and was a lock for China's Olympic team. Shang grew up in a rural area of China. and her family sold their calves to pay for her gymnastics. As a senior, Shang won many national titles earning her enough money to help settle her family and buy a home for her brother who is visually impaired. Despite numerous national titles in one of the greatest gym nations, Shang is yet to bring home an individual world medal. She has made numerous all around finals though is often held back by a weak vault - a full twisting Yurchenko (5.0D). Though her difficulty on vault is low, her difficulty elsewhere is competitive. She has made an individual event final in everything but vault and has often finished in the top 8 AA. Her execution, however, can cause trouble. A specific slow motion of her switch ring on beam at 2013 worlds comes to mind. That aside, with Larisa Iordache possibly out of the Olympics and Angelina Melnikova struggling with a hamstring injury, Shang could finally have her chance to bring home an individual all around medal. Also look for her to make the beam and floor finals - her floor with a very strong 3.5 punch front pike and triple twist immediate punch front tuck. You can read more on Shang Chunsong/a translation of a short documentary on her here: In the Olympic Year - Shang Chunsong.


World Champion Fan Yilin is one of the other crucial members for Team China. In 2015, she was part of a four-way tie for the gold medal on uneven bars but boasted the highest difficulty of the group at 6.9. Since then, she has successfully competed a 7.1 D at an internal test with a connected pirouette giving her the additional two tenths in difficulty (D-score breakdown here). Her balance beam is at a 6.7 D score if everything is connected. Fan has competed floor exercise but not at major international competitions. Her D there is relatively low, 5.4. Look for Fan to again make the uneven bar final with her eyes set on a medal. Also look for her in the beam final if all goes according to plan in qualifications.



Though I missed a lot of junior chat, Mao Yi was one of the juniors I do remember hearing about. She had her senior debut in 2015 and capped off the year as a world silver medalist with the team in 2015. She competed on vault and floor in both team qualifications and team finals where she boasts a solid double twisting Yurchenko. Don't be fooled as Mao did compete in the all around at the 2016 Chinese National Championships where she won the silver medal. She struggles on bars with a slightly awkward construction but has a good beam and has upgraded floor to a 6.4 difficulty. Like Shang Chunsong, she has a 3.5 to punch front tuck, a triple full to punch front pike, with the addition of a 2.5 to punch front layout? half. I don't know why but that last one impresses me the most. For Mao, look for her to possibly joining Shang in the all around final and possibly floor final. You can read/watch more on Mao Yi here: The Olympic Year - Mao Yi.


Wang Yan is another athlete that was heralded as one to watch as a junior. She competed at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games then at the World Championships in 2015 as a newly minted senior. She competed in all 4 events and made the all around final. In the team final, she contributed on everything but uneven bars. Wang is China's only shot at a vault medal where she has a double twisting Tsukahara (6.0 D) and a Rudi (6.2 D). She's capable of being one of China's top all arounders but injuries have plagued her throughout 2016. Her vaults and her potential are part of what kept her on the team, after pain kept her from competing to her fullest potential at this year's Nationals. Based on interviews with the coaches, she is coming back stronger both physically and mentally. Look for her in the vault final. Her other finals, beam and floor are possible if she is close to 100%.


To round out the team, we have Tan Jiaxin who recently replaced injured Liu Tingting. Unfortunately, Tan is not without injuries as an elbow injury keeps her a question mark. She is most useful on vault and the uneven bars. On vault, she was working an Amanar though, to my knowledge, she has not successfully landed it in competition/internal test (though has gotten very close). She is also great on the uneven bars where she has high difficulty and caps off her routine with a full twisting double layout.



Here's what I make of Team China's lineup. Without Liu Tingting, they lose a strong beam worker. Tan is strong on vault and uneven bars, provided her elbow injury does not cause difficulties on this event. Of note, China is in a similar all around issue that other countries are in. Shang is certainly doing all around. Mao finished 2nd at the recent championships. Wang has great all around potential though she has not shown it recently due to injury and consistency issues. Do you give her the chance on uneven bars or give it to Tan since she actually has a chance at the event final? Based on what we've seen, I think the spot goes to Tan. All around spots will go to Mao and Shang.

Possible Lineup
VT: Shang, Mao, Tan, Wang
UB: Mao, Tan, Shang, Fan
BB: Wang, Mao, Fan, Shang
FX: Fan, Wang, Mao, Shang

What do you think of this lineup?

Sunday, July 10, 2016

US Olympic Team Announced


The United States of America has named their 2016 Olympic team that will be heading to Rio. They come in as the defending team champions with defending individual champions in the All Around and Floor Exercise. Team USA also boasts the three time defending World All Around Champion Simone Biles.

In a team containing returning Olympians and one of the most decorated world champions, it's difficult to figure out who "headlines" the team. We'll start with the athlete of the quadrennium - Simone Biles. Biles started in 2013 as the new kid on the block but proved to be ready for greatness. She won her first all around gold at that year's World Championship and continued to do the same in the following two worlds. She was the first athlete to "3-peat," win 3 consecutive world AA gold medals. At World Championships, Biles has also medaled on every event other than bars though she has made finals or finished top 8. Biles goes in as the heavy favorite for the all around championship in Rio.

One of the veterans of the team is Aly Raisman. Grandma Aly, as the team affectionately calls her, was part of the gold medal winning Fierce Five at the 2012 London Olympics. She will return to the Olympics as the defending floor exercise champion. Raisman also earned a bronze medal on the balance beam. This year showed continued progress from Aly with changes in her balance beam routine to work on shaky connections and an ever explosive floor exercise with her signature pass - 1.5 through to arabian punch front (fun name, huh?). At times, Raisman's confidence seemed to falter but ever the team player, she should be one of the rocks for Team USA in Rio.

The second veteran is Gabrielle Douglas, defending Olympic All Around Champion. Like Raisman, Douglas took about a year off after the London Olympics, another year to get back into competition shape, then had a solid 2015 at the World Championships. Throughout the year, however, Douglas hasn't been as stable as we've become accustomed to seeing. Douglas will hope to make the all around finals again, though it will be difficult, and possibly make finals on uneven bars or balance beam.

Laurie Hernandez is the newcomer sure to steal hearts and get people off their seats in Rio. Known as the "human emoji" and known for her charismatic dance, Hernandez will make her major international debut. As one of the top all around gymnasts in the US, she will hope to compete the all around. She truly can contribute to the team on all events.

Rounding out the team is Uneven Bar World Champion Madison Kocian. Kocian was one of the juniors always on the radar but struggled with injuries throughout her senior career. She did make the worlds team in 2014 where she earned a team gold. She repeated the team gold in 2015 but this time earned an individual uneven bars gold medal. Or not so individual as it was a 4-way tie. Kocian had an injury at the beginning of the year that kept her out but she has come back strong enough to do the all around. She won't be used on all events but knowing that she can be used helped her earn this spot. In additional, Kocian will be hungry for a spot in that uneven bars final and a truly individual gold medal.

Skinner, Smith, and Locklear were named as alternates to the team. Mykayla Skinner is best known for her vaults and floor exercise. If she were called to compete, she would have a decent shot at the vault event final. In addition, on floor exercise she competes an original double twisting double layout. The hardest skill competed by any female athlete.  Ragan Smith is a new senior that has had a fire in her eyes. She had one slip up at P&G Championships but otherwise has done well enough to impress the selection committee. Ashton Locklear, a member of the Lumbee tribe, rounds out the alternates. Known for her amazing work on the uneven bars, Locklear basically had a head to head battle with Madison Kocian for that final spot. If called upon, Locklear's excellent execution on the uneven bars could earn her a place in the vent finals.

Congratulations to all the athletes, coaches, and their families!!! We are excited to watch Team USA in Rio.