After the amazing gymnastics competition we saw in Rio 2016, the World Artistic Gymnastics Championship in Montreal has been the first big opportunity for the world’s top gymnasts to get ready for Tokyo 2020.
And, surprisingly, it was the young stars who took centre stage as most of the big names from Rio simply didn’t show.
The Olympic Games in Rio last year brought us memorable performances and the contest in Montreal was our chance to catch a glimpse of these talents preparing for Tokyo.
It was the young stars, however, who shone, so hopefully if there’s no serious injuries these girls will be the ones fighting for the medals in 2020.
Over the next three years we will probably see a lot of retirements from older gymnasts leaving the vacancy for new ones to step in to the spotlight.
In Montreal, the question on everyone’s lips was ‘where’s Simone Biles? Where’s the Final 5?’ – The USA team who took the gold in the last Olympic games. And to be honest they were missed, the USA team wasn’t as scary as it used to be, because, usually, they are the ones notching up all the gold medals.
The Russians took advantage of their absence, winning two of the four apparatus and winning the team competition. Maria Paseka(22), who competed in London 2012 and in Rio 2016, took the leadership of a strong Russian national team, closely followed by new young Chinese National team who did an awesome performance, with an amazing Yilin Fan (19) on the uneven bars.
It was an overall good world cup, nothing amazing, nothing like Glasgow 2015, but a great start for the road to Tokyo. Young girls like the Chinese team or Ragan smith(USA) who won the silver medal in the all-round competition and the gold medal in the floor routine, showed that they are the new bets for the 2020 Olympic games.
But, amazingly, a German young star Pauline Schaefer stole the show on the beam event, as none of the big names like Sanne Wevers (NTH) who was Olympic gold medal in Rio and made Simone Biles take the bronze, made it along to the finals.
A big let-down was the Netherlands national team who didn’t manage to get any medal and not even qualify any of the girls at any final, unluckily Eythora Thorsdottir, who was injured, was one of the big disappointments as she did an awesome performance in Rio and became 9th in the all round competition. We had been expecting to see more from her, she’s one of the girls to follow during this next three years before Tokyo.
A performance to highlight was 17-year-old Yilin Fan from China – in the last world cup in Glasgow 2015, Fan won the gold medal in uneven bars, a title that she shares with Viktoria Komova (RUS), Daria Spiridonova(RUS) and Madison Kocian(USA) in the first ever 4-tie in gymnastics history. Yilin also took the Olympic team bronze medal in Rio and now that the big names were missing it was her time to shine, and she nailed it. She managed to execute one of the most difficult routines in uneven bars and bring the gold home, but this time without sharing it. We should be expecting to see more of this talented young girl who has the whole national team on her shoulders.
This new Olympic season started out to be quite uneventful, but hopefully everyone will be at their best for the World Championship in Stuttgart 2019, the last bullet before the Olympic games.