As the next month goes on, Olympic selection news is going to be everywhere, so we’ll try to bring everything we learn to you about once a week.
This week, the biggest news was the Australian federation selecting 2012 Olympian Larrissa Miller to her second Olympic team. Miller, who competes only on bars and floor and could make finals on both with good qualification routines, was in consideration alongside her 2012 teammates Emily Little and Lauren Mitchell as well as this year’s national champion Rianna Mizzen for Australia’s sole Olympic spot after they missed out on qualifying at the Test Event in April.
Miller, who is a team player to the max and fought so hard this quad, called her selection bittersweet, as she’s thrilled about her own selection but will miss having her teammates by her side. The Australians – a bit beaten down after several injuries took down key players this year – placed fifth in Rio, failing to qualify a full team to the Games for the first time in 20 years, making the decision almost impossible with so much talent in the mix.
Also selected for Rio was Zsofia Kovacs of Hungary. The choice was between first-year senior Kovacs and Noemi Makra, who has done some great work since reaching the senior level earlier this quad, but has really struggled with consistency this year due to various injuries. Kovacs had the higher score of the two at the Test Event, and also had the third-best all-around finish for those who competed all four events in qualifications at last week’s European Championships. She’s a shoo-in for the Olympic all-around final, something she could make happen even with a fall, and represents the future of Hungarian gymnastics with her huge skills and killer consistency.
The Dutch women also started their Olympic selection process this week. They competed earlier today, and will go on to compete at nationals in two weeks before the team is named, with ten gymnasts currently in contention for their five spots. The ten on the list include 2015 worlds team members Lieke and Sanne Wevers, Eythora Thorsdottir, Mara Titarsolej, and Tisha Volleman in addition to 2012 Olympian Céline van Gerner, Vera van Pol, Reina Beltman, Kirsten Polderman, and Noël van Klaveren.
Among these, the Wevers twins, Thorsdottir, and van Gerner are looking like the top choices, but there are several who could fit into the final spot. With the loss of the powerful Lisa Top due to an Achilles injury just a few weeks ago, someone good on vault and floor is especially needed. Titarsolej placed fifth on floor at Euros last weekend, and is capable of a huge all-around score as well, but Volleman upped her game with the debut of her DTY today, something van Klaveren can perform as well if she’s healthy.
Either way, they will send a fantastic team to Rio, one that will be very competitive as they hope to make their second team final in a row after accomplishing this feat at worlds last year.
Earlier this week, Japan named its Olympic team, with Asuka Teramoto, Aiko Sugihara, and Mai Murakami definitely going to Rio, while the other two spots have nominatively gone to Yuki Uchiyama and Sae Miyakawa. Natsumi Sasada and Marina Kawasaki, meanwhile, will train alongside the team as the alternates in the lead-up to the Games but could be expected to step in if needed.
Article by Lauren Hopkins