By Anna Rose Johnson

The Jesolo Trophy always provides a great sneak peek at strong contenders in the international elite field prior to the height of elite season. This year’s competition is no different, with athletes like Ragan Smith and Angelina Melnikova set to compete.

Feature photo by Lloyd Smith

Since its inception in 2008, the City of Jesolo Trophy has provided an early look at elite talent around the world in the lead-up to the summer competition season. The list of past all-around champions is like a “who’s-who” of Olympic champions, with superstars such as Shawn Johnson and Simone Biles capturing the gold medal over the last 10 years.

With the United States opting to not send an official team to Jesolo, several U.S. gyms are sending individuals to compete at this prestigious meet. Texas Dreams will bring a star-studded group of gymnasts to Jesolo, including 2016 Olympic alternate Ragan Smith, whose unfortunate injury in warmups at 2017 Worlds prevented her from competing at that event. Smith’s teammates Sydney Barros and Emma Malabuyo will also compete, providing gymnastics fans with a great opportunity to watch these up-and-coming athletes in action before this summer’s U.S. Classic. Speaking of Classics, the 2017 all-around champion, Alyona Shchennikova, is scheduled to compete in Jesolo, as well as Olivia Dunne, Adeline Kenlin, Grace McCallum and Tori Tatum. McCallum recently won the senior all-around verification at the U.S. National Team Training Camp in early April, so we’re excited for her senior debut in Jesolo! Dunne and Kenlin will also compete in their first senior meets.

Headlining Team Russia is Angelina Melnikova, who won the Birmingham World Cup in March with her exquisite work on floor exercise, highlighted by intricate combinations. Joined by Uliana Perebinosova and Lilia Akhaimova, Melnikova should be able to lead this team to a stellar performance in Jesolo. (If you haven’t checked out Perebinosova’s unique uneven bars routine, you should do so immediately!)

Still in a major rebuilding phase after failing to qualify a full team to Rio, Romania will send four seniors and four juniors to Jesolo, including 2015 World team member Anamaria OcolișanMaria Holbura, Denisa Golgotă and Carmen Ghiciuc comprise the rest of the senior team.

Lorette Charpy and Louise Vanhille are slated to represent France in the senior division, and their elegant performances will certainly be a highlight. (Stay tuned for our upcoming web feature on Lorette!) Canada is sending one senior gymnast, innovative bars worker Laurie-Lou Vézina, while China will send both senior and junior teams, led by 2017 World bars finalist Luo Huan and Liu Jieyu, who competed at the 2018 Birmingham World Cup.

Brazil is also sending full teams in both the senior and junior divisions. 2016 Olympian and beam queen Flávia Saraiva and 2008 Olympic veteran Jade Barbosa will compete, along with Carolyne Pedro and Luiza Domingues.

Who are you most excited to watch in Jesolo? Leave us a comment on social media!

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Anna Rose Johnson writes about women’s artistic and rhythmic gymnastics. She loves Whippets, brownies, and full-twisting double layouts. Her writing portfolio can be viewed at: https://annarosejohnson.contently.com