Worlds Team Updates

The weekend brought a number of developments in the realm of worlds teams, some of them even surprising. Here’s what you need to know:

CHINA

China has named its women’s team for worlds as Liu Tingting, Li Shijia, Qi Qi, Tang Xijing, and Chen Yile, with Zhang Jin as the traveling alternate.

The big news there is the presence of Chen Yile. As recently as the first worlds team trial, Chen seemed to be well down the pyramid of likely options for worlds, but she finished 3rd AA at the final trial and seems to be gearing up just in the nick of time.

The AA at the final trial was won by Tang Xijing, solidifying her position in the group and likely acting as the nail in the coffin for Zhang Jin’s chances. Earlier in the process, I had thought of Zhang as having a very solid argument for worlds, but the usefulness of the emerging DTYs from LSJ and TXJ make the DTT from Zhang Jin semi-obsolete, especially if she’s not bringing a consistently big floor number. Zhang finished 7th AA at the final trial, which did not help her chances, though she did still get the traveling alternate spot over Luo Huan, who finished 6th. It’s a shame for Luo Huan, but it looks like Chen swooped in to fill what would otherwise have been the Luo Huan role. Similar strengths there.

So in all, this group has the events pretty evenly covered and right now is my favorite to win team silver. They have 3 DTYs from Li SJ, Qi Qi, and Tang XJ—and they are totally stacked on beam (which 3 of the beamers end up going in the team final will be a tough decision). I’m not sold on floor, but the team’s prospects on the leg events are at least much more encouraging than they were at this time last year.

China also named its drama-free men’s team of Xiao Ruoteng, Lin Chaopan, Deng Shudi, Sun Wei, and Zou Jingyuan—the exact same team as last year.

FRANCE

The news out of France: Coline Devillard has withdrawn from the worlds team with injury. Devillard was on this team to do vault, and there’s not a logical vault replacement to join DJDS and Friess in that lineup (either Charpy or Boyer will have to pop in as a third counting score with a Yfull, and there’s no backup gymnast who would do any better).

I assume Devillard’s replacement will then be Claire Pontlevoy, who has a ton of potential with a huge bars score to elevate that lineup instead (and who also scored well on floor in Germany the other weekend), but it’s a definite blow to France’s upset-medal chances.

NETHERLANDS

The Netherlands has named its six for worlds (with the alternate to be decided at a later date) as Eythora Thorsdottir, Naomi Visser, Lieke Wevers, Sanne Wevers, Tisha Volleman, and Vera van Pol.

The other one in the mix was Sanna Veerman, who struggled at the first trial but pulled it back together at the second trial over the weekend with a hit Y1.5 and a big bars score. I thought that performance might save her, but it did not. Instead, Sanne Wevers came back with a Sanne-ish enough performance on beam to get herself into the six.

Importantly, we also saw vault upgrades with Thorsdottir bringing back her DTY and Visser hitting a 1.5. If the team feels comfortable with those two vaults and Volleman’s DTY, that probably relegates van Pol to an alternate position since she would be on a team nearly exclusively to do her 1.5, but we shall see. The argument van Pol has going for her is that her 1.5 is exceptionally reliable.

BRAZIL

Brazil has confirmed its worlds team as Flavia Saraiva, Jade Barbosa, Thais Fidelis, Lorrane Oliveira, and Leticia Costa. In addition to the obvious four, the veteran Leticia Costa has been added to the team in place of Carolyne Pedro, who was in the nominative group.

There’s not a ton that any of the other options for Brazil were going to add to the obvious four, but Costa’s best piece is typically vault, which tells me that Brazil may not be sold on the vaults they’re getting from Barbosa and Fidelis and wanted another option.

AUSTRALIA

We haven’t heard news on Australia’s final team yet, but there were developments at the first day of Australian Classic today. Emily Whitehead, who appears on Australia’s nominative team, did not compete at all. Meanwhile, Kate McDonald, who was the alternate on the nominative team, finished 3rd AA with top-3 scores on bars, beam, and floor.

Meanwhile, the top beam score belonged to Breanna Scott, who was not on the nominative team at all, and currently sits 4th overall. Day 2 is coming up Wednesday.

20 thoughts on “Worlds Team Updates”

  1. MY FAVORITE TIME OF THE YEAR!!!!!!! All the gossip and the surprises. I don’t know what I am going to do with myself over the weekend with the USA selection camp. I feel like Willy Wonka…The suspense is terrible! I hope it will last!

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  2. You have mentioned that World Selection at EVO is open to the public, but how do you get tickets/attend? I live about an hour away and am thinking of going…

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  3. I don’t get The Netherlands not bringing Sanna with her spectacular bars and decent vault. Why Vera? Team 5 should be: Naomi, Eythora, Tisha, Sanna and (Sanne or Lieke). Sanne is in a bad shape so maybe lieke would add something in the floor. Her beam is also not that and ub overscored and not that good but at least she can do the 4.
    I think Dutch gymnastics stinks nepotism. It is a pity.

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    1. I agree with your team permutation 100% Sanna has their best bars set, and she also managed to tie Vera’s 1.5 at the second trial! Plus, Sanna is probably (slash definitely) the stronger beam and floor worker out of the two! I get that Vera has been more consistent with her vault this season, but Sanna brought it when it mattered, and she brings a massive upside to this team! My team would be Eythora, Naomi, Tisha, Lieke, Sanne, and SannA as the alternate that could replace SannE if she isn’t doing well.
      VT: Naomi, Tisha, Eythora
      UB: Sanne, Lieke, Naomi
      BB: Lieke, Eythora, Sanne
      FX: Lieke, Tisha, Eythora

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I definitely think that the top 2 are going to be 1st USA and 2nd China, but 3rd is still up for grabs depending on how Russia performs. If there is an upset I feel it might be Canada as they have their best team performing and they performed well at Pan Ams. They finished 4th as a Team last year so let’s hope they can improve. I would have said France but since Devillard is out, I am not so sure anymore. Japan without Mai is out of the top 3. I think the top 8 Teams will probably be the same with the exception of maybe Italy making top 8 this year.

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  5. God knows I am probably jinxing it for the other teams but I don’t think Russia even needs to melt down to miss the podium this year. They are depleted and Italy is too good, Canada is very good, France remains very good even without Devillard. The level just increased so much from last year. China was on its way out of the podium too until its post-nationals improvements, now it looks solid for the podium (and I’d still not be remotely surprised if they had a bad-ish day and lost silver to one of those teams from above who went 12 for 12).

    Also any doubt Team GB might have had for team selection just died now that Amelie Morgan withdrew with injury. Clearly, now the team needs to be Downie, Downie, Kinsella, Fenton and James, with Kelly Simm as the alternate. Can’t see how they’ll get their usual selection drama out of this lol

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    1. Sounds likely enough to me, except for the lack of Japan. 3 through 6 could end up in any order but I’ll be surprised if Russia gets higher than 4th.

      Japan isn’t challenging that top group like they could have, but they can pretty easily bounce the Netherlands or Great Britain depending on who is hitting when. I know people are like ~will they qualify without Mai?!1~ but barring a total disaster, I’d expect them to be somewhere between 10th and 6th.

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  6. China is looking to be in very good shape. Chow has done amazing in conditioning them and getting them better on vault and floor! I think they’ll be a very strong contender for Silver. I wouldn’t be surprised if Russia missed the podium completely. They’re not looking consistent at all and and they’re a pretty unbalanced team in general. Canada and Italy especially are looking amazing and could very well make the podium. It’d be cool to see a team outside the big 3 win a medal!

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  7. While I do agree with everyone that this is the weakest Russian team we have seen in a long time (ever?), I’m a little worried about the ability of other teams to hold it together. And yeah, I know Russia can Russia. Anyway, I just don’t want to get my hopes up too much about a podium that isn’t a typical US-China-Russia in some order.

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    1. It’s true! There’s not much reason to expect Italy or France or even Canada to hit 12 routines in TF either. But it does seem like a much closer race than normal: if Russia and Italy and France hit everything to the best of their ability, they’re much closer score wise than they’ve been in the past.

      Also unfortunately for all these teams, they could be completely undone by an injury to their star. Russia minus Melnikova or Canada minus Black or France minus MDJDS would be a disaster. I really hope nothing like that happens. Also, after the last four years it’s bizarre that the only team with depth is China (or maybe Japan I suppose).

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    2. Oh, definitely not EVER. There was the dark age between Khorkina and Mustafina after all, and the 2015 team was somewhat of a shitshow too (remember when Seda and Dasha were their only two AAers and then Dasha didn’t even qualify to the AA final so Russia only had Seda in it?). In fact, this team is an improvement over what they ended up having in TF last year. But they could have been better, and they needed to be better since other countries are catching up in a way they never did before.

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      1. I don’t know that Russia was worst in 2003 or 2007.
        In 2007 they were in the medal equation until Kramarenko got a 0 on VT. They finished last because of the zero, but would have the bronze medal with a 13.575. She had a 13.725 in TQ. That was kind of a fluke accident.
        2003 they had to absorb Shevchenko’s 7.5 on FX in their opening rotation. They did have the top team on VT in 2003 TF.
        Both scores were disasters for the team and severely impacted the team standing.

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    3. The only reason we saw a US-China-Russia podium last year is because literally every non-US team had a meltdown in team final. There are so many teams this year that could earn the bronze medal but they have to be consistent and hit when it counts.

      There are more “outsider” teams with medal chances this year than possibly ever before. However, Russia isn’t a pushover even with this depleted team. I think it will take a 12/12 hit for an outsider team to medal.

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