I say this about almost EVERY team from Great Britain because I love them all so much, but no, for real, this is my favorite team of all time. A healthy Rebecca Tunney would have sweetened the deal for me, but I think even without her, GB has managed to pull together a mighty talented bunch.
They come in strong with the core group of Becky Downie, Claudia Fragapane, Ruby Harrold, and Hannah Whelan, all of whom played crucial roles in earning the 2014 European Championship silver and Commonwealth Games gold. Kelly Simm (also part of this year’s Commonwealth team), Gabby Jupp (the British all-around champion last year), and Charlie Fellows (who earned silver to Jupp’s gold) round out the field.
This is a team with plenty of veterans – including two Olympians – and no weak links. Everyone has something big to offer and they can put up exciting routines on all four events.
Downie has hit above 15 on three events in the past six months, which is incredible. She has potential to not only make both bars and beam finals in Nanning, but could also medal on both on a good day. Also with medal potential is Fragapane; in addition to contributing to the team you can also expect to see her in floor finals without a doubt if she hits in qualifications, and though her vaults aren’t as difficult as others’, the final itself could be a possibility. These two will definitely be Great Britain’s superstars barring injury or falls.
Veteran Whelan will largely be a utility player at Worlds; though she’s been the star of the team many times, she’s not quite at old levels of difficulty and I don’t think she can really challenge for a final; even if her scores were among the top eight in the world, she’d miss out after being pitted against her teammates, with two earning higher scores than her on bars, beam, and floor. She could make the all-around, though again could have two teammates in front of her. But we can expect Whelan to be a picture of consistency and experience, guiding her younger teammate through what will be the first World Championships for most.
Harrold will have her traditionally fierce bar routine ready to go, and should also make appearances on vault and floor, at least in qualifications; whether she does either in team finals will depend on her consistency. Her bars could make finals if she hits, though her form does tend to bring her execution down at times, so it will be a challenge. Simm is primarily going for vault, though will likely do floor in qualifications as well; her lack of difficulty will keep finals out of her reach, however. Then there’s Fellows, who doesn’t tend to compete outside of the country much and who wouldn’t be a top three contributor on any event, relegating her unfortunately to alternate status (a shame because I do love her gymnastics, though she could easily step up anywhere if needed).
Finally, we have Jupp. After a successful start to her 2013 season – she came 6th at the American Cup before becoming British national champion and medaling at the Doha World Cup – Jupp got injured and has been unable to compete in 16 months. She apparently looked fantastic at the selection camp, so if she’s truly back, expect her to do very well on beam. Finals will be tough, but her exercise is awesome and should be a highlight of the British women’s competition.
As a team, vault will be strongest, as the Brits have at least three solid DTYs ready to go for the team final. They’re not as strong elsewhere, but have at least two gymnasts on bars and beam who can realistically earn scores in the high 14s, which is also something Fragapane can do on floor. While the athletes in the remaining spots on these events won’t necessarily bring in huge scores, they won’t be duds, either. On bars and beam, this position will be filled by someone who can bring in high 13s or low 14s, while on floor – a low-scoring event overall for the team – you’ll likely see someone hitting a low or mid 13. Not bad at all, if everyone hits.
The Gymternet’s Team Final Predictions
If Downie is vaulting again, it’ll be her, Fragapane, and Simm going up on vault without a doubt. If Downie’s not going up there, I suspect Harrold would go in her place. On bars, Downie and Harrold are ace with either Whelan or Jupp filling in as the lead-off.
Jupp, Whelan, and Downie should be the three to go on beam with Fragapane a strong alternate, and then Fragapane is the obvious anchor on floor, with Jupp, Whelan, and Harrold all about on equal footing for the final two spots there. I’d say Jupp has the best potential and is pretty consistent so she’s my pick for the second spot; between Whelan and Harrold for the third, they’re on the same page scoring-wise, though Whelan is a bit more consistent. It’ll all come down to podium training for them.
It’s DATA TIME!
Last week, we shared a large data project looking at team scores to see how each nation will look in terms of qualifications. Once we figured out the eight we saw as locks for the team final, we decided to play around with that a bit as well.
We looked at the results earned by these Worlds team members in all available qualifications and finals over the past six months to get an idea as to how each athlete will fare. For the British women, this included the English Championships, British Championships, European Championships, Commonwealth Games, and a friendly meet held in Munich. As Jupp was injured this year, we included her results from the American Cup, British Championships, and Doha World Cup in 2013.
The High Scores
We took our potential team finals lineups and plugged in each athlete’s high score this year to see what their maximum earning potential looks like. You know, just for fun.
|VT||Downie 15.100||Fragapane 14.850||Simm 14.750||ALT Harrold 14.800|
|UB||Downie 15.500||Harrold 14.733||Whelan 14.300||ALT Jupp 14.000|
|BB||Jupp 14.750||Whelan 15.050||Downie 15.150||ALT Fragapane 14.033|
|FX||Fragapane 14.766||Jupp 14.350||Whelan 13.700||ALT Harrold 13.800|
Top Pick– 176.999
Alternate – 176.132
The Low Scores
Same as above, but using each athlete’s lowest score this season.
|VT||Downie 14.500||Fragapane 14.400||Simm 14.350||ALT Harrold 13.400|
|UB||Downie 14.150||Harrold 11.400||Whelan 13.100||ALT Jupp 13.550|
|BB||Jupp 14.150||Whelan 12.333||Downie 9.833||ALT Fragapane 13.300|
|FX||Fragapane 13.000||Jupp 13.666||Whelan 13.033||ALT Harrold 11.650|
Top Pick– 157.915
Let’s Be Real
Okay, it’s unlikely Downie is going to lose her mind on beam and fall a billion times like in event finals after the grueling week in Glasgow, and it’s just as unlikely that everyone will happen to have their best day ever across the board. So we averaged each athlete’s scores on each event minus the lowest and highest scores to get a more realistic idea of what can happen.
|VT||Downie 14.850||Fragapane 14.621||Simm 14.646||ALT Harrold 14.000|
|UB||Downie 14.825||Harrold 14.500||Whelan 13.700||ALT Jupp 13.775|
|BB||Jupp 14.428||Whelan 14.244||Downie 13.928||ALT Fragapane 13.233|
|FX||Fragapane 14.063||Jupp 13.842||Whelan 13.337||ALT Harrold 13.323|
Total– 170.984 (42.746)
Alternate– 169.204 (42.301 event average)
Considering the GB team earned a 170.663 in team finals at European Championships earlier this year, we’re not too far off. 170.094 is a super realistic score for the British ladies at this level, even with a low-scoring routine or two tossed in. How do they measure up against other teams likely to make the final? Check back for the next seven pieces in this series to find out!
Article by Lauren Hopkins