The team final was a party for the Brazilian Team that did not manage to improve on their qualification standing, but had Daniele Hypólito’s, yet to be confirmed but most likely, good-bye to her 16 year long career. Also had Rio-borns Jade Barbosa and Flavia Saraiva competing in what is a warm up opportunity for Flavia Saraiva and Rebecca Andrade that have advanced to the Balance Beam and All-Around finals, respectively.
The Dutch team finished an elegant 7th that was graced by their floor routines and Sanne Wever’s dominance of the beam, while the Geman girls will be proud of placing third on bars ahead of powerhouse China that had struggles in the apparatus. Both Elisabeth Seitz and Sophie Scheder showed 6.6 D-scores for their bars routines and are set to repeat the feat at the uneven bars final.
Great Britain finished a disappointing 5th after being favorites for the team bronze. The team that started on bars was expected to overtake Russia on beam and floor, however Elissa Downie had a very uexpected fall on her standing Arabian which is a very rare occurrence for the young Downie as she is re-known for sticking the skill cold. Any chance of beating Russia slipped away after the team counted 0.5 in out of bounds deductions on Floor. Yet the team can be proud that despite the out-of-bounds deductions they placed second on the apparatus behind the United States.
Japan dreamt of bronze after three rotations when they stood third going into the last event. But their solid beam routines did not have the difficulty necessary to get near the bronze as they finished 1.632 behind bronze-medalling China. But Rio is only the beginning for this team as they are preparing for 2020 where they will be the host country and perhaps then they will be able to make history for Japan.
China’s bronze surely tastes bittersweet. The team had overcome the qualification round where they had to compete in the first subdivision and despite the early competition they managed to kept their mental toughness and qualify a solid second behind the United States. In the team final it was the same, they held their second place for 11 routines out of 12.
In the qualification round review it was noted that Mao Yi’s floor routine had gone dangerously wrong in the qualification round and that a similar outcome could drop China out of the top 3 emphasizing the big risk it meant to have her perform. However the Chinese coaches decided to take the risk and they put her in their line-up as their last gymnast and disaster happened when Mao Yi landed (sat down) her first tumbling pass outside the floor area. That kind of fall is among the worst that can happen to a gymnast as landing out of bounds is 0.5 deduction plus the 1 point deduction for the fall. It was only the first tumbling pass and Mao had already given away half the lead China had over Russia.
The Russian that had been hoping for bronze were even more pressured as Japan appeared in the top three standings ahead of them after three rotations but with China’s fall a new goal, beyond recuperating the third place, appeared for them. With only Double Twisting Yurchenkos it would have been very hard for Russia to place ahead of China but they had the one vault that could literally vault them into silver, Paseka’s Amanar.
Russia had qualified a chaotic third into the team final and while they remained favorites for a medal much would be determined after their participation on beam, which is usually where the team gives away their medals. While they did have to count a fall from Melnikova both Mustafina and Tutkhalyan were solid and earned scores that could have easily qualified them into the beam final if they had performed those routines in the qualification round.
Russia then moved to Floor where they are also weak but all the gymnasts managed to stay on their feet and in bounds marking a consistency record for the ever struggling Russia.
In a rapid overview going into the final rotation it was clear that Russia’s double twisting Yurchenko’s would likely pass Japan’s beam scores as the Japanese team has the fluidity and consistency but not the difficulty. But a new mental toughness test had surged for the Russians due to China’s misfortune and given the particular circumstances it relied solely on Russia’s last competitor: Maria Paseka.
If Paseka fell on her Amanar or performed it poorly Russia would still get a medal but that was not what was expected from Russia: fans, gymnasts and coaches wanted to see a Russia that could deliver under immense pressure and they did, they witnessed a vault that is worth of an Olympic final and medal.
As for the gold-medal USA team the only thing left to say is that they were spectacular and flawless in every single one of the routines, from the young and inexperienced Lauren Hernández to the veteran Alexandra Raisman. By the time Simone Biles was up on the Floor for the United States’ last routine she only needed a mark a little under 8 and she scored twice as much giving the US a win by an 8 point margin.
So it ended… Rio’s Team Final