Boyer, De Jesus Dos Santos, Friess, and Heduit Named as Olympians for France

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Mélanie De Jesus Dos Santos

The French gymnastics federation has named the four women who will represent the country at the 2020 Olympic Games today, following last week’s national championships and a final trial held over this weekend.

Mélanie De Jesus Dos Santos, a seven-time European medalist who also represented France at all three world championships over the quad, will headline the team alongside 2016 Olympic beam finalist Marine Boyer, 2019 world all-around finalist Aline Friess, and 2021 European floor finalist Carolann Heduit.

Both De Jesus Dos Santos and Friess skipped out on last week’s national championships, where Heduit took the title while Boyer finished second. De Jesus Dos Santos has been playing it safe with the leg events this season, so it’s unclear how she’s looking on vault and floor right now, but she was always going to be a top contender for the team regardless of whether she could get these events back to a high level or not. Her bars and beam have potential to both help the team and also qualify for individual finals, and if her vault and floor are back to normal, she’ll also be one of the top all-around threats.

Friess, who has been dealing with a knee injury and had surgery late last year, returned to competition at the Ukraine International Cup in May, where she won the all-around title with a 53.750 after falling twice on bars. The national team coaches also seem to be taking it easy with her right now in order to preserve her much-needed vault (she has a really strong Rudi) and floor for Tokyo, thus allowing her to sit out at nationals. But based on how she looked in Ukraine, she was clearly a frontrunner for this Olympic team with key strengths that are pretty much irreplaceable.

Both Friess and Heduit were the standout new seniors this quad, and though Heduit regressed a bit at first due to injuries that held her back and kept her from making the worlds team in 2019, she now looks stronger than ever, with a Yurchenko double on vault as well as a super difficult bars set, and typically solid routines on beam and floor. Boyer, meanwhile, has been one of the most consistent gymnasts for France over the past five years, and she will graduate from the baby of the team in 2016 to now the veteran of this Tokyo squad.

The reserve athletes for the women’s team are Coline Devillard and Célia Serber. Devillard, known for her big potential on vault, wasn’t able to show readiness on the other three events, though if an athlete does need to be subbed in, her vault score would still be valuable regardless of how everything else looks. Serber, meanwhile, finished third all-around at nationals, just a few tenths behind Boyer, and though she lacks difficulty across all of her events, she’s a lovely performer with generally clean and solid outings.

Also invited to this weekend’s trial were Sheyen Petit, Morgane Osyssek, Taïs Boura, Maewenn Eugene, and Alizée Letrange-Mouakit, though Letrange-Mouakit is still coming back from an injury and withdrew from the final selection after only competing bars at nationals.

Article by Lauren Hopkins

7 thoughts on “Boyer, De Jesus Dos Santos, Friess, and Heduit Named as Olympians for France

  1. I’m excited to see how the french team does in Tokyo and throughout the next quad leading up to a home Olympics, I think it’s gonna be really fun to watch!

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    • Me too! I think this team has the potential to be a top team outside of the USA, RUS, and CHN, so I’d love to see them live up to that potential and have a top 5 finish in Tokyo. I’m so worried about the knees of almost every single gymnast on this team (I think Boyer is the only one who hasn’t had a significant knee injury over the past couple of years?) but if they can stay healthy, they’re going to be such a huge threat.

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      • You’re right about Marine . She has made every Euros/Words since 2016 + a significant number of WCups (at some point – before 2019 Worlds – she was leading the BB WC ranking). Other than her they all sufered injuries that put them out of the team at some moment (though for Melanie it’s more about her 2015 knee injury than any other little injuries she’s had since). Right now ‘only’ Lorette Charpy and Claire Pontlevoy are out, the later (two severe knee injuries in 02 and 08 2020) was scheduled to compete UB at Nationals.

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  2. The team is what was expected, with Charpy’s injury probably allowing Marine Boyer to make it.
    Devillard is the lowest AA ranked gymnast among those who made the final test last sturday (though she had a 12+ on BB at Nationals that certainly wasn’t expected and a decent D score on FX) but I guess France is in a sort of ‘What if Carey …’ mood ….. and Coline right now is the unofficial alternate on VT (WC circuit).
    We’ll know more about Melanie’s olympic chances at the end of june as France competes at the Flanders Cup (with something like 10 other countries !). She did FX at the Euro’s PT (with a tucked full full) so I guess she is on track for success. High expectations are on her shoulders …. she’s got the talent , she’s a true AAer, …. can she now be consistent ?

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    • I think if Friess is injured, it would make sense to put Devillard in her place and just hope that everyone else hits UB-BB-FX in qualifications…but I’d use Serber as the alternate for everyone else.

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