The Olympics are close. Disturbingly close. Some might say panic-attack close. As such, it’s probably time to start previewing things. I’ll begin this multi-week previewing process (there’s a lot to get through) with a look at some of the major women’s teams vying for medals at the Olympics, starting with Great Britain.
You’ve come a long way, baby. 20 seconds ago, Great Britain was excited to qualify a team to the Olympics. 5 seconds ago, simply making the team final was a massive accomplishment. Now, Great Britain stands as the most likely heir to the big four to replace Romania (the queen is dead, long live the queen) and enters the 2016 Olympics with the sudden pressure and expectations that go along with being one of the top teams in the world. Simply qualifying to finals is no longer good enough. It’s expected. WE WANT MEDALS.
Becky Downie — two-time European bars champion, general resilient badass, the shorter one but the older one
Ellie Downie — 2016 European vault and floor silver, sliding into your podium finishes, the taller one but the younger one
Claudia Fragapane — 2015 European floor silver, 2014 Commonwealth everything, so energetic that you don’t care about her form, makes you really uncomfortable when she gets called “pocket rocket”
Ruby Harrold – 2014 Commonwealth AA silver, her bars composition is more important than your life, coming to make LSU the best bars team in 3…2…1…
Amy Tinkler – 2015 British AA champion, the one who isn’t Ellie Downie but who’s also making Great Britain good on vault and floor now, nicknamed “Tinkles” by just me
Projected Olympic Lineups
Vault: (Harrold), Fragapane, Tinkler, Downie
Bars: (Fragapane?), Harrold, E. Downie, B. Downie
Beam: (Tinkler), Fragapane, E. Downie, B. Downie
Floor: (Harrold), Tinkler, E. Downie. Fragapane
And by projected Olympic lineups, I of course mean what I would do. A.k.a., the correct answer.
Vault and floor are easy because Becky Downie doesn’t do them anymore. (Thanks, girl!) On vault, the team will have its pick from four viable DTYs in the team final. It’s a far cry from recent years of Imogen Cairns making teams because she had a 1.5. Fragapane’s vault is sloppy, but she tends to outscore Harrold, who can land chest down and take a larger lunge. On floor, the clear standouts are Tinkler, E. Downie, and Fragapane, who should all manage to score well into the 14s, the team’s best argument for challenging the likes of Russia and China.
Great Britain will, however, have some serious decisions to make on bars and beam as to who goes in qualification and who has a shot at the all-around. Continue reading Olympic Preview — Team Great Britain