Highlights and Top Storylines from Women’s Qualifications 

By Ashlee Buhler and Christy Sandmaier

The 2021 Tokyo Olympics are moving along and after the women’s qualifications, the team, All-Around and event final fields are officially set. 

If you missed the competition live don’t worry—we’ve got you covered! Here are the results and some of the highlights from the competition.

Major Shake Up

The U.S. women came into Tokyo as the clear favorites to win gold, but after qualifications, it’s Russia that is atop the standings by almost a full point while the U.S. sits in second. The U.S. women did make some uncharacteristic mistakes (even Simone Biles wasn’t at her best, bouncing out of several landings and taking huge steps after her beam dismount) while the Russian women were composed and confident throughout, in particular Angelina Melnikova and Vladislava Urazova, who qualified for the All-Around in fourth and fifth.

Jade Carey and MyKayla Skinner, individual competitors on Team USA, looked the sharpest today for the U.S. and competed lights out. Both had stellar qualifying routines with Carey qualifying to vault and floor finals. Skinner fell victim to the two-per country rule, finishing fourth overall on vault behind Biles, Carey and Brazil’s Rebeca Andrade, who also placed second in the All-Around and fourth on floor in the meet of her life.

So the questions is, will the U.S. women be able to rally in the team final to defend their team gold medal? It’s a question we haven’t had to ask in a while. Their Olympic and World Championships team dominance is something we’ve come to expect so when they don’t win, we quickly search for answers and justification and yes, blame. They’re athletes and they’re human, and they’ve trained and competed throughout an unprecedented pandemic. So before we rush to conclusions about their state of mind or leadership, let’s remember the beauty of competition is just that. And Tuesday, it’s Game On again in Team Finals.

Oksana’s Farewell

It was an emotional farewell to a woman who has created such a legacy in the sport. Oksana Chusovitina (UZB) competed beautifully in her eighth Olympics (she even had an “8” on her leotard) but it wasn’t enough to advance to the vault final. The moment was raw as athletes, coaches and officials stood and applauded Chusovitina, many in tears. She told us in April that this will be her final competition—we already miss her making history out on the competition floor. 

Storytelling

Vanessa Ferrari (ITA), the 2006 World All-Around champion competing in her fourth Olympic Games, qualified first on floor, her routine set to “Time to Say Goodbye” famously performed by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman. Ferrari’s performance drew us in, the journey of her gymnastics apparent throughout the routine. Oh, what a moment it would be if she could finish her career on the podium.

Question Marks

Larisa Iordache (ROU) and Flavia Saraiva (BRA) both put up beautiful performances on beam that qualified them to the finals in fourth and eighth respectively. The biggest question is will they be able to compete? Iordache appeared to injure her foot on her beam dismount, she cried as she was carried off the podium, while Flavia limped off the floor after her final tumbling pass. We’re looking forward to seeing them compete in the final but if they have to withdraw, the reserves are Ashikawa Urara (JPN) and Viktoria Listunova (ROC).

Upsets

Qualifications is one of the toughest rounds of competition because it’s where Olympic dreams continue or come to a close. After all, if you want to win an Olympic medal you have to make it to the final. In Tokyo, reigning Olympic Beam Champion Sanne Wevers (NED) didn’t advance to the beam final. Reigning European Vault Champion Giulia Steingruber (SUI) didn’t make vault finals. Viktoria Listunova, the reigning European All-Around Champion and Russian National Champion, did not advance to the All-Around final. Chinese National Champion Lu Yufei didn’t advance either.

It’s a true testament to how strong the current women’s field is and that in finals, with a clean slate and scores starting from zero, anything is possible.

Results: 

Team Standings:

  1. ROC 171.629
  2. United States 170.562
  3. China 166.863
  4. France 164.561
  5. Belgium 164.195
  6. Great Britain 163.396
  7. Italy 163.330
  8. Japan 162.662

Top 8 All-Around Standings:

  1. Simone Biles (USA) 57.731
  2. Rebeca Andrade (BRA) 57.399
  3. Sunisa Lee (USA) 57.166
  4. Angelina Melnikova (RUS) 57.132
  5. Vladislava Urazova (RUS) 57.099
  6. Viktoria Listunova (RUS) 56.932
  7. Nina Derwael (BEL) 56.598
  8. Tang Xijing (CHN) 56.432

Vault Finalists:

  1. Simone Biles (USA) 15.183
  2. Jade Carey (USA) 15.166
  3. Rebeca Andrade (BRA) 15.100
  4. Yeo Seojeong (KOR) 14.800
  5. Shallon Olsen (CAN) 14.699
  6. Lilia Akhaimova (ROC) 14.699
  7. Alexa Moreno (MEX) 14.633
  8. Angelina Melnikova (ROC) 14.616

Uneven Bar Finalists:

  1. Nina Derwael (BEL) 15.366
  2. Sunisa Lee (USA) 15.200
  3. Anastasia Iliankova (RUS) 14.966
  4. Angelina Melnikova (RUS) 14.933
  5. Lu Yufei (CHN) 14.700

— Elisabeth Seitz (GER) 14.700

  1. Fan Yilin (CHN) 14.600
  2. Simone Biles (USA) 14.566

Beam Finalists:

  1. Guan Chenchen (CHN) 14.933
  2. Tang Xijing (CHN) 14.333
  3. Sunisa Lee (USA) 14.200
  4. Larisa Iordache (ROU) 14.133
  5. Ellie Black (CAN) 14.100
  6. Simone Biles (USA) 14.066
  7. Vladislava Urazova (RUS) 14.000
  8. Flavia Saraiva (BRA) 13.966

Floor Finalists:

  1. Vanessa Ferrari (ITA) 14.166
  2. Simone Biles (USA) 14.133
  3. Jade Carey (USA) 14.100
  4. Rebeca Andrade (BRA) 14.066
  5. Jessica Gadirova (GBR) 14.033
  6. Viktoria Listunova (RUS) 14.000
  7. Angelina Melnikova (RUS) 14.000
  8. Murakami Mai (JPN) 13.933

Photos by Ricardo Bufolin for Inside Gymnastics

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