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Brazil, Germany, Belgium, France pick up the last team berths to Rio 2016

 
Publication date : 18/04/2016

RIO DE JANEIRO (BRA), FIG Office, April 17, 2016 -- Brazil, Germany, Belgium and France grabbed the last four team tickets for the Rio Olympic Games in Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Sunday at the Olympic Test Event, while Romania, the only team to have graced all Olympic podiums since the glory days of Nadia Comaneci, was shut out.

Team qualification gives nations the right to send five gymnasts to the Games this August. More than 30 individuals also qualified to return to Rio this summer, including 40-year-old Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan, who will extend a grand Olympic adventure that dates back to Barcelona 1992, where she won gold with the Unified Team. Rio will be Chusovitina's seventh Games, an absolute record in Gymnastics.

Oksana Chusovitina (UZB)

An era ends for Romania

For a team that has won a medal at every Olympics since 1976, the blow was brutal. At the Rio Games, Romania will be represented by a single gymnast, the team not having managed to do better at the Test Event than it did at the World Championships in Glasgow last October.

While Romania had to compete without star Catalina Ponor at Worlds, this time they were deprived of Larisa Iordache, the World All-around bronze medallist. As in Glasgow, the Romanians blew their chances on Uneven Bars, and did not recover. In spite of making up points on Balance Beam and Floor Exercise, largely thanks to the quality exercises presented by Ponor, a five-time Olympic medallist, Romania was not able to obtain more than one individual place for the gymnast of its choice at the Games.

Brazil rises in grace

The Brazilians booked their ticket to the Games directly from the Rio Olympic arena. From Flavia Saraiva, the young ingenue who won three medals at the last Youth Olympic Games, to Daniele Hypolito, who in 2001 became the first Brazilian gymnast to win a World medal, the six darlings of the public performed with gusto, racking up enough points to leave the arena ahead of the pack at this Test Event. Brazil scraped by to earn their place in London four years ago. Not so this time: Brazil has risen in the gymnastics world, swept up in the magic of a home Olympic Games.

Flavia Saraiva (BRA) celebrates her team's successful qualification to the Rio Olympic Games Sunday at the Olympic Gymnastics Test Event.

Germany, Belgium and France round out the Olympic party

The German qualification started laboriously on Balance Beam, but the team made up points on Uneven Bars, its strongest event. While Pauline Schaefer had already assured her place at the Games through her bronze medal win on Beam at the 2015 Worlds, she will now be able to share the Olympic adventure with her teammates.

Belgium and France, which competed late in the day, grabbed the final two team berths, depriving Australia the chance to return this summer. The Belgians, who just missed out on qualifying to London four years ago, seized their chance this time, while France stayed mostly consistent to keep its Olympic hopes intact. An improved Switzerland, the last team to qualify for the Test Event,  finished sixth ahead of Romania and South Korea.

Also bound for Rio

Switzerland may not have qualified a team, but in dominating the All-around competition Giulia Steingruber assured her country an individual place at the Games. The European champion also posted the top scores of the day on Floor and Vault, tying on the latter with Dipa Karmakar of India, who also qualified to the Games.

Guatemala’s Ana Sofia Gomez Porras and Venezuela’s Jessica Lopez, both Olympic veterans, finished high in the individual standings and were each rewarded with one of the 36 individual berths to the Games.

In total, 98 gymnasts will walk on the Olympic floor this August. All places at the Games are now distributed save one, which is reserved for a gymnast who will be invited by the Olympic Tripartite Commission, in the name of Olympic solidarity.

The complete list of gymnasts and nations qualified is available here. Competition continues Monday with apparatus finals in Men’s and Women’s Artistic Gymnastics. Apparatus finals are not a qualifying event for the Games.