A Look at the Netherlands, Australia, and France

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These are the three big teams competing tomorrow that all have shots at making it into the top eight, thus qualifying a full team to the Olympic Games, but will really have to fight for it.

Right now, assuming the United States and China will make it in, Brazil’s score of 221.861 is the one to beat. Australia has averaged a 219.838 this year, France a 219.795, and the Netherlands a 219.004. Averages include falls, so all three of these teams could be just a couple of hit routines away from besting Brazil. Canada already did it, posting a 222.780 team score despite averaging a 218.318 in 2015, lower than any of these three. So it’s possible, but you can see just how tight it is with these teams alone. It’s all about hitting when it counts, kiddos.

Netherlands

The Netherlands have just about the most gorgeous team ever this year, with everyone displaying levels of artistry we thought possible only in our wildest dreams.

My favorites are Eythora Thorsdottir and Lieke Wevers, both of whom perform my favorite floor routines in the world in addition to luscious movement on beam. They’ll also both compete as all-around hopefuls alongside Mara Titarsolej, a first-year senior who kind of snuck onto the team after not competing all year but showing up at Worlds trials to win the silver medal with a 55.267. No big deal.

Lisa Top will compete everything but bars, with her standout events being vault and floor. She has a ton of power on floor and lots of big tumbling, differing from Thorsdottir and Wevers, both of whom have only two passes with the focus instead on their dance elements, and of course, artistry. Tisha Volleman is up on all but beam, and is kind of there as the buffer athlete, leading off on all three of her events with her hopefully consistent work.

Sanne Wevers will compete bars and beam, both of which she’s lovely at, having won a bit of a surprise bars medal at European Championships this year thanks to her clean work and looking like a spinning top with all of her magnificent turns on beam.

This team is kind of a long shot for the team final, if only because they are missing some of their strongest gymnasts, including Celine van Gerner, who could’ve added a huge beam score, and Noel van Klaveren, who has huge vault scores when she’s at full health. With these two, I’d give them much better odds at getting in, whereas with the current squad, while beautiful, they aren’t always maximizing d-scores in the way other teams in the top groups do. It could happen, but hit routines for their best performers will be in the high 13s and low 14s for the most part, so don’t expect this to be a given, even if they don’t have any major mistakes.

Australia

This team snuck into the final last year over Germany, so I could totally see them making a surprise entrance again, especially now that they have top all-arounder Georgia Godwin in the mix. The two-time national champion looks great on beam and good everywhere else, and will hope to contend for a spot in the final if she hits well in competition tomorrow morning.

Madelaine Leydin and Kiara Munteanu are also expected to challenge on all four events. Leydin was the Australian bronze medalist this year, with equally balanced performances on all four events and the tendency to shine on floor, while Munteanu is similar, though hasn’t competed the all-around since last year’s Worlds, when she stepped in at the last minute due to Lauren Mitchell’s injury.

The specialists are three very experienced veterans, including 2012 Olympians Larrissa Miller and Emily Little alongside 2014 Commonwealth Games beam silver medalist Mary-Anne Monckton. Miller will compete on bars and floor, her best two events. She hasn’t competed at all since last year’s World Championships, where she was a surprise qualifier into the floor final, though bars really are her event, having earned scores of 14.666 and 14.7 in Nanning.

Monckton will do everything but floor, with beam the one to watch for her (she’s capable of big 15+ scores when she hits!), while Little will do everything but bars, showing her best work on vault (DTY alert!) and floor (major tumbling ability). It’s surprising Little isn’t in the all-around, and I suppose the national silver medalist would’ve been, but apparently injury limited her and the team needs a stronger bars worker to help them get their qualifying spot anyway.

I’m excited to see what the Aussies can do, and think they could get very close to the Brazilians if they keep their composure tomorrow.

France

This is an interesting team, because they’ve kind of been off the radar for the past few years thanks to everyone being injured literally all the time. This year, however, the only gymnast they’re missing is Youna Dufournet. All of their other top prospects are in fine shape, and the team recently posted a score at a friendly meet that would’ve had them in fourth place at last year’s qualifications (in reality, they were 13th).

There has been one lineup change since the team got to Worlds, with Anne Kuhm competing over Camille Bahl. I’m not sure if Bahl – a DTY specialist with little else to offer in terms of their team situation – is injured or just not living up to the team’s expectations. Her vault could be a little on the rough side, so perhaps it’s consistency over difficulty for this team as they are hoping to get back on the good side of things?

Their all-arounders are Marine Brevet, Louise Vanhille, and Valentine Pikul. Brevet is excellent everywhere, but has a particular affinity for beam and a killer classic rock floor routine that should be a big hit in Glasgow. Vanhille is absolutely gorgeous on bars, while Pikul’s best event is floor…when she hits. She’s been struggling there lately, but the routine itself is a manic and crazy one so either way, it should be enjoyable.

Surprisingly, national champion Loan His will not compete on all four events, as her beam is the weakest of the bunch so she’ll do everything but. The first-year senior has a solid bars set and a really entertaining floor as well, so keep an eye on her. Kuhm will do all but floor, and should bring in some consistent scores to bolster the rest of her team, while Claire Martin will act as a specialist on beam and floor. Beam is where she is truly incredible, and I HOPE she makes the final because her movement is just so…lovely. There’s no other word for it. Her floor is beautiful as well, though the low difficulty won’t really lend her a hand in making it to finals there.

I have high hopes and expectations for this squad, but I think even if they don’t make it happen in Glasgow, they should be one of the frontrunners for a team spot by the time the test event rolls around…assuming they’re all still healthy. They’ll also add some new senior talent at that point, so this could be the “team of the future” in a sense.

Thanks for reading, and we can’t wait to see the first rotation of the day kick off in a little over two hours!

Article by Lauren Hopkins

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