The Brazilian federation has named five of the six gymnasts set to compete both at the City of Jesolo Trophy meet in Italy this March and then at the Olympic Test Event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil a month later.
Four-time Olympian Daniele Hypolito, 2008 Olympian Jade Barbosa, 2014 Youth Olympic Games medalist Flavia Saraiva, and 2015 worlds team member Lorrane Oliveira all earned spots on the squad that will also include Rebeca Andrade, the 16-year-old star of the program who missed the majority of her first senior year in 2015 due to injury. The sixth and final member will be selected after an upcoming internal test.
“This team is working really hard and didn’t even take a break during the holidays,” women’s program technical manager Georgette Vidor told Esportes Terra yesterday. “It would be unthinkable for the team to miss qualifying to the Olympic Games in the year we are the hosts.”
According to Vidor, the gymnasts have been working hard to increase their start values. Barbosa has three brand-new routines which she’ll debut at the Houston National Invitational next week (including an improved bars set and an ‘exceptional’ beam), and Andrade, who was injured at a competition in Belgium last spring, will make her comeback at the first FIG World Challenge Cup of the year, held in Baku, Azerbaijan from February 19-21.
Andrade, who will compete only on the uneven bars in Baku, hopes to add vault and beam back to her program for Jesolo, and then expects to be ready on floor just in time for the test event. She took it easy following her injury last year, but has been slowly and cautiously coming back, and her training has been strong since the start of 2016. She already has the best bars set in the country – a huge deficit for the Brazilian team at worlds – and should be a key component in helping the team qualify for the Games.
As the ninth place finishers in qualifications at worlds, Brazil comes into the test event as the top-seeded team, but Vidor knows their competition will be much stronger than it was last October.
Still, Brazil has put together a powerhouse core team and while it won’t be easy, Vidor thinks this group will absolutely secure a spot. This team is a very united one, working together for a common goal, and they’re bound to do great things together this spring.
Article by Lauren Hopkins