What We Think About Canada, Germany, and Brazil

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 11.33.32 PM

All right, we are getting ready to go to bed because the first qualification session is happening in six hours, but we still have to take you on a crash course of some of the team final contenders who will be competing on the first day of qualifications.

We’ve gotten to the bigger teams already, the ones who seem like a sure bet for the top eight, but Canada, Germany, and Brazil are interesting because they’re all just about borderline. Last year, you could pick out eight teams and say “these are the ones that will make it.” There was one little surprise when Australia snuck into the final over the slightly stronger Germany after Germany made mistakes in qualifications, but this year there are about 13 teams that could fit into the top group.

A few of these are the big four teams. They’re the teams you know won’t have a problem even with a few falls, so you just kind of consider them locks and move on. But for the others, it’ll all be about who hits and who doesn’t. It’s that simple. There are multiple nations all capable of about the same scores, which includes Japan, Great Britain, Italy, Australia, Brazil, Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Canada.

When looking at averages from the 2015 season, you can see Japan, Great Britain, and Italy kind of on one level around the 222-223 range when looking at a five-up, four-count situation and then the rest are somewhere around 218-220. Germany and France are hundredths apart. So are Brazil and Australia, just a point above the former. It’s that close. A team that looks like they could be in 6th place counts a single fall, and bam, they’re in 10th. The team in 13th makes it through without a fall and they’re in the final. It’s going to be SUCH an exciting race to the finish line, especially as injuries and team changes are also throwing wrenches into an already crazy situation.

So tomorrow, Canada, Germany, and Brazil will be the three most precarious borderline teams fighting for a top eight spot that will keep them out of the test event next year. Let’s take a look at how each one has looked in training, shall we?

Canada

Led by superstar 2012 Olympian Ellie Black, the Canadian team this year is a pretty great mix of experienced veterans and almost absolute newbies. They’ll have Black in the all-around along with Victoria-Kayen Woo and Isabela Onyshko, both of whom have been staples on the team in the past year, while Audrey Rousseau will do everything but vault, 2012 Olympic vault finalist Brittany Rogers will do everything but floor, and Youth Olympic Games finalist Sydney Townsend will be the specialist for vault and floor.

We saw a bit of Pan Am champ Black in training, and it seems she’s added some difficulty on floor, doing her 2.5 through to double tuck along with a front double full to punch front tuck, and a punch front full through to double pike, maximizing her difficulty through combination skills in three passes instead of doing four. On vault, you can expect a tsuk 1.5 along with a front handspring layout full, as she hopes to make the final there, but beam is where she’ll truly have her best shot, with excellent difficulty that includes a double spin to full spin, punch front pike, bhs layout, bhs tuck full, punch front tuck, and a big 2.5 dismount.

The other one to watch is Rogers…I didn’t see video of her vaults, though she has a rumored Amanar, but her bars include a toe full to Downie, and a Ricna to pak, both of which are kind of awesome considering she’s been away at college for three years. She also looked incredible on beam…there were a few wobbles, but she has a full-twisting back handspring in addition to a solid bhs loso, her signature bhs 1/4 to split that she takes right down to her beam choreo (as if you couldn’t love her enough), and a big double pike dismount.

In addition to these, you should pay close attention to Onyshko and Rousseau on bars and Onyshko on beam. Woo and Townsend seem to be in leadoff spots and I haven’t seen any videos of their work, but they’ve both been consistent this season and should provide some great work as buffers for their team.

Germany

If you’ve followed our coverage of this program all year, you should know by now that Elisabeth Seitz, Sophie Scheder, and Pauline Schäfer – collectively called “the Hambüchens” by coach Ulla Koch – are running the show here. They’ll all be in the all-around, while Pauline Tratz will be on all but bars, Leah Griesser on all but vault, and Lisa Katharina Hill will compete on vault and bars.

Seitz looked excellent in training on bars, with just a few minor form issues but overall killing it. She and Scheder should definitely make the final there, and could both actually challenge for medals if they hit cleanly, though again, it’s a deep field so it’ll all come down to who is hitting the best. Seitz actually seemed to have a good day on all four events, and should be one of the two Germans to make it into the all-around final, though “the Hambüchens” have been so close in that competition all season long, it’ll be hard to say until the final moment.

Schäfer is the team’s resident beam goddess, and she too looked strong on her specialty in addition to providing the team’s strongest vaults. Vault is also where Tratz will help the most, while Hill is expected to do her best work on bars and Griesser on beam and floor, where she’s been incredibly consistent over the past couple of months. It’s hard to believe she was only the alternate a year ago!

Seitz made a comment about how people assume the Germans aren’t good on beam, and she hopes the team can prove people wrong this year. She’s right – they’re not bad on beam, but they do struggle with consistency, and that’s exactly what they’ll need to show if they’re after one of those top eight spots. If they make the errors they did last year, they’ll be at the test event for sure.

Brazil

If I had to pick a borderline team my heart is saying will get in, it’s Brazil, and not just because they’re the 2016 host country. This team is actually doing incredible work, from tiny Flavia Saraiva all the way up to veteran Daniele Hypolito, exactly ten years Saraiva’s senior. These two, 2008 Olympian Jade Barbosa, and Lorrane Oliveira will perform in the all-around, and Thauany Araujo will do all but floor while Leticia Costa will perform there as her one event.

As a whole, the team is excellent on beam and floor, both in their ability as well as in their performance value. This is where Saraiva will make a final, especially if she performs the way she did in training, nailing absolutely every element and connection like she’s gracefully walking across the floor. She’s missed more routines than she’s made so far this year, unfortunately, but if it comes together for her here, she’ll be unstoppable and will absolutely challenge for a medal. On floor, she’s not as strong in her ability, though her routine is a must watch because it is absolutely adorable.

I think Saraiva will get one of the all-around spots relatively easily, whereas the other one will be between Hypolito and Barbosa. They both stand out on beam, though go back and forth elsewhere, as Hypolito has the edge on floor with her big tumbling there, but Barbosa’s vault is superior. If it all comes down to bars – their final event – I’d give the point to Hypolito, but either way if both are on the mark, it could be a great internal battle for the two ‘old ladies’ of the team.

Oliveira is good in her own right, especially on bars where she should be a standout for the team, and both Araujo and Costa bring crucial routines to the mix, but it’s that core group of Saraiva, Barbosa, and Hypolito that should kill it in Glasgow. Add Rebeca Andrade to that mix next year and you have an absolutely killer team, so I’m definitely crossing my fingers to see them knock it out of the park this weekend to get the qualification out of the way. Who wouldn’t want to see them bring it as a team on their home turf?!

That about wraps it up for our previews for now! Friday will be a day full of qualification recaps and opinions and analysis, oh my, and then we’ll preview a few more of the teams and athletes set to compete on Saturday.

Article by Lauren Hopkins

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s