The Broken Roads To Rio – Part 1

Elsa García (MEX)

At the 2007 Worlds the sole nominative berth earned by Mexico went to Marisela Cantú. A wild card was petitioned so Elsa García could go to Beijing as well but it was denied and Elsa had to wait and train for four more years.

Ready to compete at the North Greenwich Arena in London 2012 Elsa suffered a last minute hand injury that limited her to two apparatus, beam and floor, in the qualification round. Despite the injury Elsa managed to finish 35th on floor but the disappointment of not being able to contend for a spot in the all-around final made her train for another four years.

At the 2015 Panamerican Games in July, Elsa was limited to two apparatus by a knee injury that did not improve, forcing her last minute withdrawal from the World Championships in October. With limited training due to her injury Elsa did not place in the top two spots at the internal competition set to determine Mexico’s representatives at the Test Event therefore ending her quest for a second Olympic Games.

Marta Pihan-Kulesza (POL)  

When the nominative list for the Test Event came out, a very important name was missing, the one of Poland’s most successful gymnast: Marta Pihan-Kulesza. Marta is a two time Olympian, Beijing 2008 and London 2012, as well as a European finalist that has always been a standout on Floor for her creative and ingenious choreography.

An injury sustained at the Polish Championships in 2015 began to derail her road to Rio, because even though she was ready to compete at the World Championships in October she did not look at her best and did not manage to improve enough throughout 2016 to be named by her Federation to the Test Event, therefore ending her chances of becoming a three time Olympian. Soon after her non-selection Marta announced through her Facebook account that she would retire after attending the Cottbus World Cup and the Italian Series in May.

 Mary Anne Mockton (AUS)

With Australia fighting for one of the final team berths to be awarded at the Test Event, veteran Mary Ann Mockton was named to the team. Sadly her joy was short-lived as only a day later a fall would cause her ACL to rupture. Despite the disappointment Mary Ann announced that she would continue with her gymnastics career after her recovery with her new goal being the 2017 World Championships to take place in Montréal.

Sadly for Australia they did not qualify a full team to the Olympics finishing fifth in a competition where only the top four teams would get berths.

 Jonna Adlerteg (SWE)

In the all-around final of the 2015 European Championships Jonna Adlerteg tore her ACL on Floor. Since then Jonna had been pacing her recovery throughout the year to be ready for the Test Event. Jonna had already been picked by her Federation as one of the two gymnasts to the attend the Test Even when she re-injured her knee while competing at the uneven bars final at the Doha World Cup in late March. Her routine went well enough to earn her the gold medal however the double layout dismount tore her meniscus.

Jonna was Sweden’s representative at the London Olympics where she finished 39th in the all-around qualification round, and she was also present at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore where her bronze medal on the uneven bars was a historic one for Sweden.

 Roxana Popa (ESP)

The Romanian-born Roxana Popa had been Spain’s top athlete for the past few years. Sadly during the morning training of the opening day of the 2014 Mexican Open Roxana tore her ACL and injured her meniscus. As Roxana announced through her facebook account in late March, she did not manage to fully recover from the meniscus injury and an arthroscopy could not be postponed any longer meaning she would miss the Test Event and therefore her chance to go to the Olympic Games. Rio would have been Roxana’s first Olympic Games.

Farah Ann Abdul Hadi (MAS) & Marina Nekrasova (AZE)

A bad day of competition for Farah Ann Abdul Hadi and Marina Nekrasova at the Test Event meant they did not achieve a high enough score to earn a spot for the Olympic Games.

Farah Ann comes from Malaysia a country very little known in the gymnastics world, yet her smile along with consistent performances earned her an 11th place in the all-around at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

As for Marina Nekrasova, she represents a country that four years ago did not have an artistic gymnastics team. Despite being a very strong powerhouse in rhythmic gymnastics, Azerbaijan had not developed an artistic gymnastics program until three years ago and Marina just narrowly missed the score to be the country’s first Olympian, she’s currently first reserve with Farah Ann standing in second. 

Catalina Ponor or Larisa Iordache (ROU)

With only one spot, Romania will have to choose between three-time Olympic gold medalist Catalina Ponor and their only World medalist from this quadrennium Larisa Iordache. Catalina is the experience, the amazing return to the sport with a chance of a medal, but so is Larisa Iordache the young prodigy that has sustained the program these past years, but playing against her, are her untimely injuries. A Larisa at full potential would have up to three possibilities of a medal: all-around, beam and floor while realistically Ponor only has beam, she could qualify to the Floor final but a medal would be difficult.  However Larisa is not at full potential and time is running out, can she make it? Or will it be Catalina? Who will have her Road To Rio Broken?


Retired Before Rio

Romania… The End Of An Era

The Broken Roads To Rio – Part 2

The Rule That Could Have Given Larisa Iordache Her Pass To Rio 2016



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