The first day of women’s Pan Am competition – which also serves as a World Championship qualifier – is in the books, and we have a semi-major development: Brazil’s 1st place finish over the United States.
Brazil went 161,967 with one count drop – compared to the US on 160,466 with two count drops – the difference factor being beam, beam and more beam. Brazil’s three counted performances were exquisite (and even Pedro’s miss showed fine form), with Flavia Saraiva staying on the apparatus and therefore scoring exactly one million points, Rebeca Andrade performing confidently to top 14 as well, and the less discussed Julia Soares showing she can keep up with both with her routine that displays wonderful pacing and execution.
Brazil also beat the United States on vault, with both teams bringing two DTYs to the party, although they struggled to some degree on bars and floor. On bars, the first two gymnasts fell into a rotation that desperately needed to be saved by the exceptional routine of Andrade, who nearly reached 9 in E grade. A fairly OOBish floor rotation could have used this same economy, but Andrade previously announced that she will not be playing on the floor at this year’s competition. On the contrary, Saraiva recorded Brazil’s best floor score en route to winning the Continental AA title.
As for the Americans, they competed in three events and also set off to finish in a comfortable but uninteresting second place. Today’s 160.466 is about 4.5 points less than the DTB Pokal team did (McClain, Frazier, Sullivan. Blakely, Matthews) and about 3.5 points less than the team de Jesolo did (McClain, Jones, Frazier, Mueller, Miller), so not an impressive day as part of this year’s US performances but more than enough for the intended purposes.
Things started off acceptably on bars in the first rotation, where Miller led the team with his stratospheric D score, followed by Blakely with one of his most comfortable recent bar sets. DiCello struggled a bit, with a break from casting after his church and another handstand issue, but ended up with an execution score mostly on par with the others.
Then almost everything fell into a trash can in the second rotation, when only Lexi Zeiss was able to stay on the beam, a feat that led her to all-around silver and the deeply unofficial US MVP award. that I just invented. Mueller came out on a side aerial in the first place, DiCello fell on her bhs series loso loso and then caught the beam on her side jump 1/2 (#thenewtechniqueisharderyall), and Blakely fell on her series fhs front tuck – but gets points for a soft and accidental Wolf 2.5 fix from above.
The floor was the strongest and most comfortable event of the day for the United States, with DiCello showing excellent control in his landings for the top score and Blakely showing a useful score of 5.7 D with a DLO 1 /1 and a DLO. Most of the team are over 8 in execution, so they’ll take that. On vault, Zeiss was once again the leader with his solid DTY, while Blakely landed short on his own DTY with a lunge, and DiCello was demoted full after missing his double during selection.
So it happened. But that was just the appetizer, and we’ll see a rematch of that showdown between Brazil and USA in Sunday’s team final at 10 a.m. local Rio time. Which could really go either way depending on who stays on more devices.
Canada easily finished 3rd in the team qualification, which started out by trying to emulate the USA’s difficult time on beam, but turned things around for competitive results in the other three events. Because Canada competed at the same time as Brazil, the flow was like, “What’s a Canada?” and we have no idea what those routines looked like, but check the box for world qualification.
Argentina in 4th place and Mexico in 5th and last place also put a tick next to qualification for the world championships in the final rotation. Argentina should be delighted to have finished ahead of Mexico and to make it a fairly anxiety-free experience by outpacing their next best rival, Colombia, in every event and by more than six points overall. Mexico had some uncertain times in there, with three scores in the 9 that were to be dropped, but eventually finished with Argentina, with none of the other teams coming close enough to challenge.
In the all-around, 11 world championship places were available for women. With the all-around top 13 coming from the qualifying teams, the individual places started with Tyesha Mattis (formerly of GB and now representing Jamaica) in 14th place and went from there. The full list can be found in the table below. Olivia Kelly, who represents Barbados and made noise in the first subdivision with her beautiful beam, narrowly missed qualifying for the world championships by one place.
|Tyesha Mattis (JAM)
Laura Pardo (COL)
Ana Karina Mendez (PER)
Antonia Marihuan (CHI)
Ginna Escobar (LOC)
Milca Leon (VEN)
Franchesca Santi (CHI)
Alais Perée (ECU)
Annalize Newman-Achee (TTO)
Franciny Morales (CRC)
Karla Navas (PAN)
|Aida Bauyrzhanova (KAZ)
Rifda Irfanaluthfi (INA)
Milka Gehani (SRI)
Dildora Aripova (UZB)
Nadine Joy Nathan (SGP)
Ominakhon Khalilova (UZB)
Korkem Yerbossynkyzy (KAZ)
Sasiwimon Mueangphuan (THA)
|Africa||Egypt||Caitlin Rooskrantz (RSA)
Naveen Daries (RSA)
Fatma Boukhatem (ALG)
Lahna Salem (ALG)
|Oceania||Australia||Keira Rolston-Larking (NZL)
Reece Cobb (NZL)
Men’s qualification will conclude later in the day with the final subdivision. There are 4 team spots available for the men, and the United States is currently leading the qualifiers, followed by Canada and Colombia, as expected. The final split includes Brazil, who are expected to qualify comfortably, and Mexico trying to beat Colombia for that final spot.