Rio Qualifications: Highlights and Low Points

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Sunday’s Qualification round was certainly one for the ages. The USA Women’s team put up an almost unbelievable score by the end of the night, and we saw moments from both teams and individuals that were both unexpected and unfortunate.  With that note let’s take a look at some of the high moments that people may have missed in NBC’s Primetime Coverage.

  1. The Mixed Group Magic

The best part of the qualification round is being able to see gymnasts like Dipa Kramakar, Houry Gebeshian, Tutya Yilmaz and many others compete. They take such joy in their participation that you almost forget that their beautiful efforts are unlikely to be seen after this night. Thankfully, Dipa’s Prudonova was enough to carry her to the EF. But if you didn’t get to see the whole qualifications you might have missed this moment from Houry Gebeshian after debuting her new eponymous skill:


Or this moment when she rocked a great beam set:



There was the lovely magic of Tutya Yilmaz, and her infectious smile:

And, that moment when Jessica Lopez from Venezuela gave us all the feels:

The spectators for the qualifications were held up for hours in poorly planned security lines in the heat. When the competition first started, the arena looked half empty! But people gradually filled the seats, and the home crowd cheered loudly for every country. One of the best moments was Flavia’s beam set, though. She rocked a solid routine and earned a 15.133 and a spot in the EF, and the arena went nuts.


They were so infectiously joyful and genuinely happy at their effort. They texted, tweeted and posed for selfies with each other. I’m sure they wished for better, for a shot at the finals, but nobody could deny that they were the embodiment of taking joy in the effort. They put it all out on the podium, and walked away happy.


Really, this was more about having seen what happened on Beam just previous to this and then watching her basically say, “IDGAF, I’m Aliya Mustafina and these are MY BARS!”. It was a thing of beauty and you could tell she was determined to show the others how you move on from a mistake.



Seriously, I watched and had 2 lovely Australians occasionally whispering in my ear for a few hours. They said lovely things, with delightful accents, about every gymnast. There was no belaboring of mistakes or pointless fluff and IT. WAS. AMAZING. Just to make sure, I did eventually tune in to the American coverage (because, you know, I’m American) and started to get very frustrated by the commentary immediately.


She is utterly hilarious and you can feel the investment she has for every gymnast from every country. If I could’ve laid a soundtrack of her Twitter Feed over the primetime commentary it would’ve been heavenly. NBC may want to look into this for Tokyo. Just saying.



The Low and The Scary


  1. Ellie Downie on Floor.

Maybe it’s because I work in medical research. Maybe it’s because I’ve had a concussion and know how scary it feels when you have a disconnect between your brain and your body and it just feels off. I was glad that she got up after that fall, but as soon as I saw her try and focus down the mat it was clear this was no minor fall. My heart just seized for a few moments. Not just for the British team and their prospects, but because the injuries at this Olympics felt too numerous, too severe already. I’m thankful beyond words that she was able to finish her last event and can recover (hopefully).


The injury that made my husband cringe and my daughter rethink her desire for gymnastics. After watching the men’s teams sustain some brutal injuries yesterday I was hoping for a better day for the women.  But as the video shows, Catalina was about to have her Olympics ruined:


To be clear, Team Canada was neither a “low” nor “scary”. They just seemed to have rotten luck from the get-go. Normally a stalwart on beam, the great leveler claimed Rose Woo and Elsabeth Black. They moved to Floor, where Shallon Olsen was given a 7.766 E-score. At the time it bothered me, and when I looked back later I realized it was because the majority of E-scores in the 7’s were for routines that had either a fall, an OOB, or both.  Still, they soldiered on to Vault and put up the 4th highest scores of the night. Going into UB it looked like Team Canada would be able to squeak into the finals. Rose Woo and Isabela Onyshko hit their sets, and then Brittany Rogers, on the final transition from low to high bar, fell. It was a fall that you didn’t see coming. The top of her grips just fast-ripped off the high bar and that was it. Elsabeth Black, ever the leader rocked out a closing set and then the whole team waited. And waited. And waited. It really did feel like forever until the score of 14.500 was put up. 0.169 points short. One fall, a few pointed toes, a missed connection. Any one of those things was the difference between moving on and going home. And it was gutting to watch.


I truly never imagined I would see a balance beam final in 2016 without Ferrari, Ferlito or Fasana. An Italian, at least one. But sure enough, Fasana, then Ferrari, then Ferlito all fell. Beam had been pretty brutal all day, but it just walloped the Italians.

All in all, this was a pretty great way to spend 14 hours. I enjoyed being able to watch all the athletes and even have time to go back and replay routines to see the nuances in different routines. I’m excited for the finals on Tuesday and the AA on Thursday. Sometimes, it’s not who wins, it’s how the game is played.


Credit to Twitter Users: @jovialjacki; @GymNerdStics; @itugvo; @RealJhonathan; @babychochee; @KARK4News; @antoniobarrio14 for their profile videos.

Article: Kimberly Wooster

Photo Cover Source : FIG

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