Women’s gymnastics controls expectations for medals at Worlds

While Brazil has almost all eyes on the presidential elections, on Sunday (30), five Brazilian women will start writing what could be the most successful chapter in the history of artistic gymnastics in the country. Led by Rebeca Andrade and Flávia Saraiva, the women’s team disputes the World Cup in Liverpool (England) with the feet on the ground of those who know they have eight chances of medal and the probability of a record.

For Brazil, the competition starts at 15:30 (Brasília time), for now without broadcast. Both SporTV and the Olympic Channel, linked to the COB, have the rights to the World Cup, but the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) will not generate an image of the classification phase.

A shame for the fan who will have to control his anxiety in a historic test for Brazilian gymnastics. The performance in the classification will show, after all, how far Brazil can go in this World Cup. If the team can in fact fight for a medal with China, Italy and Great Britain in the team competition on Tuesday (1), if Flávia Saraiva is a candidate to join Rebeca Andrade on the podium of the all-around on Thursday (3) and the chances of the two to add five medals in the finals for apparatus between Saturday (5) and Sunday (6).

“I think we’ve been through this situation in the past and we have to learn from everything that happened. We prepared well, but the internet is not the day of competition. We know what we trained and what that we can do”, says Franciso Porath, aka Chico, the team’s coach, citing the high expectations of fans in virtual forums.

He refers to the 2019 World Cup. Seventh in the 2018 championship, Brazil visualized the chance to “pop” in the following competition, ended up forcing gymnasts too much in training, and the “pop” came in their physique. Missing, Brazil was only 14th in the 2019 World Cup and did not get a place in teams in Tokyo. A historic failure.

The hard lesson has been learned. So much so that Brazil is going very strong to the World Cup, but not with full force. Veteran of the team, aged 31, Jade Barbosa has been spared this whole year, looking forward to next year’s World Cup and the Paris Olympics.” We don’t need to be full force in 2022. This World Cup is part of the cycle, which is even shorter. We are planning to be strong in 2023″, says Chico.

The presence of Carol Pedro, and not of Jade, shows the technical commission’s foot on the ground. This year’s World Cup distributes three spots in Paris and Brazil is one of the three or four countries fighting for two of those spots – the other one should not leave the USA’s hands. Instead of betting everything on this chance, Brazil prefers to ensure that nothing gets out of hand to grab one of the nine spots that will be up for grabs at next year’s World Cup.

The planning for the next season, by the way, is already designed with the fight for this Olympic spot in mind. If she is anticipated with a podium in Liverpool, so much the better. “I don’t even like to talk about it, because it’s a problem for after the Worlds. If we can do it, we can use the calendar in another way. [a vaga] would be the icing on the cake”, admits Chico.

stronger than ever

The Balance Beam Situation website, which specializes in artistic gymnastics, made a projection for the Worlds, pointing out that if all gymnasts do more or less what they usually do in their presentations, the USA should win team gold, with a score of around 166. points, and Brazil took the silver, with 165. China (164.9), Italy (163) and the host Great Britain (162) would come later.

But the Brazilian team knows that this possibility depends on a perfect presentation by both Rebeca and Flávia, who compete in the four apparatus, as well as Julia Soares on the floor and beam, Lorrane Oliveira on the asymmetries and Carol on the vault. Unlike the qualifiers, in which four gymnasts perform per apparatus and one note is discarded, in the final there are only three per apparatus.

Rebeca is a favorite for gold in the all-around, with North American Shilese Jones and Jordan Chiles as her main rivals. Flávia Saraiva was Pan champion and will run out if she manages to make a perfect final.

For appliances are another five chances. Rebeca, current Olympic and world champion, is a huge favorite in jumping, has good chances in asymmetry, and can fight for a medal on the floor, her most irregular event. Flávia Saraiva is pointed out as a candidate on the ground, mainly, and on the beam.

If Rebeca, for example, manages to qualify for three finals per device, she will have to make 15 high-level performances in eight days. In Flávia’s case, it would be 14. This makes the Worlds also an opportunity to test the team’s preparation, from a physical and mental point of view, already simulating what could happen at the Paris Games.

“If this possibility happens, we will be able to test our preparation. If everything goes well until the end, we can say: ‘we got it right here, we got it wrong there’. It serves as an experience for the team as a whole, acclimatization time, displacement” , explains Chico.

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