Brazil’s national championships wrapped up today with the second of two days of all-around competition, and the fight for the podium in the women’s match was a thrilling one thanks to the depth that came from a combination of first-year seniors, veterans twice their age, and everyone in between.
Most exciting was seeing two-time Olympian Jade Barbosa improving on her day one score by over a point to win the gold by a tenth. It was the first national all-around title for the 32-year-old since 2007 – the year some of her fellow competitors were born – and it came following years of injuries, a global pandemic, and other setbacks that have limited her to just bars and beam since 2019.
On the first day of competition, Barbosa showed a competitive program, but mistakes throughout her day held her back to fourth place with a 52.166. Despite not competing at her full potential, however, Barbosa was only half a point back from the leader, giving her an opportunity to come back for an upset, which is exactly what she did. She still wasn’t perfect, and will likely spend the lead-up to world championships polishing and tightening across all four events, but she had no major mistakes, and looked fantastic overall to earn a 53.401.
Barbosa was at her best on floor, winning the gold medal there for her entertaining Chicago-themed routine that included a whip to full-in, piked full-in, 1½ to front layout, and double pike. I was also a big fan of her composition on bars, where she connected a toe full to toe-on to Chow to hop change to Ezhova in addition to competing a Maloney to Tkachev and a double layout dismount, and though she looked a bit nervous on beam, she had some really strong and quick connections, and a fantastic double pike dismount.
Coming in second was last year’s bronze medalist Julia Soares, who looked clean and consistent across both days of competition to earn scores of 52.500 and 52.933 in addition to finishing on the podium on both of her standout events, with scores of 13.6 and 13.767 to win the bronze on beam and scores of 13.667 and 13.733 to win the silver on floor.
Soares, who turns 18 in a few days, was a member of Brazil’s Pan Ams teams both last year and this year, competed at worlds last year, and won the gold medal on floor at the DTB Team Challenge in Germany a few months ago. I think she was going to be a lock for worlds even before this weekend, but her all-around finish proves her competence as an athlete who can go up on any event as needed, and I think she will be a very important part of the program qualifying a full team to next year’s Olympic Games.
We saw another veteran pick up the bronze medal, as 2016 Olympian Lorrane Oliveira showed strong performances on both days to reach a 104.934 combined total after scoring a 52.634 and a 52.300. As with Barbosa, there are little things that could use some attention, and her beam ended up being a bit shaky on day two, with her double pike dismount also going awry.
But overall she looked great, and she had some of the most impressive work on bars, including a clean Maloney to Pak to toe-on to van Leeuwen, piked Jaeger, and double front half-out, which earned a 13.867 on day one and a 13.333 on day two, enough for the silver medal on that event, and she won the bronze on floor with scores of 13.167 and 13.2, opening with a strong whip to arabian double front.
First-year senior Andreza Lima, who surprised to take the lead following the first day of competition, wound up in fourth place when all was said and done. She was the only gymnast among the top group of athletes to have competed in the first session of the day, but that didn’t get to her in either of her performances, and she finished very closely behind Oliveira with a 104.601 after earning a 52.734 on day one followed by a 51.867 today.
Lima did her best work on beam and floor, finishing fourth on both, and as one of the few seniors showing two vaults, she ended up taking the gold there. Her most difficult vault is a Yurchenko full, so she wouldn’t quite be competitive there internationally, but she was tidy with both vaults on both days of competition. While I don’t think Lima is quite strong enough to factor into the worlds team puzzle, I think with such a balanced program, she’s in a prime position for the all-around role. It’s also just generally exciting to see her do so well after starting the season looking a bit weak. Either way, she’s a great up-and-coming talent, and should be a lot of fun to watch as she continues growing at this level.
Rounding out the top eight were Gabriela Barbosa in fifth with a 100.233 (50.066, 50.167), Isabel Ramos in sixth with a 99.734 (49.000, 50.734), Josiany Calixto in seventh with a 98.700 (50.733, 47.967), and Larissa Machado in eighth with a 98.699 (50.266, 48.433).
Barbosa and Calixto are both first-year seniors, and both have some very strong qualities, but are still a bit green and just need a bit more time. Barbosa is a lovely athlete and is coming off of an incredible junior career, but her difficulty isn’t up to par with most of the top seniors, and Calixto is capable of great work on beam, though she’s unfortunately always been a little inconsistent there, something that followed her into today’s competition.
On the other side of the coin, Ramos and Machado are both still at the junior level, and it was great to see them both fit right in among many of the senior athletes. Ramos is only 13, but she already has a fantastic Yurchenko full and solid difficulty elsewhere, with her floor a highlight, and she finished third and fifth on those apparatuses, respectively. Machado, 14, also has a strong Yurchenko full and she’s pretty well-balanced overall. She unfortunately had some rough moments in today’s meet, dropping her from sixth after day one to eighth in the two-day rankings, but she’s very promising and I can’t wait to see more from her.
Now, the moment I assume you’ve been waiting for – how did Olympic and world champion Rebeca Andrade look in her first competition back after a hiatus following her success at last year’s world championships?! Though Andrade worked on tumbling lines during podium training, she opted to compete every event but floor, and she looked absolutely phenomenal while doing it, easily winning the bars and beam titles.
Her Yurchenko double on vault was powerful, clean, and controlled, her bars were so beautiful I found myself trying to be judge-level picky on purpose while watching because there’s very little that would be an obvious deduction, and she did some of her strongest work we’ve seen on beam, with her day two routine earning a 14.767 (kind of a fantasy execution score, frankly, but I’m not even mad). I think my biggest critique is just that her body line from head to toe can get a little loose at times on bars, which will incur a bunch of tenths throughout, but if she can focus on staying tight, she has a medal-worthy routine on her hands.
We also got to see two-time Olympian Flavia Saraiva back in action after an injury at worlds last year has kept her mostly playing it safe. She competed bars at the Brazil Trophy in April as a way to get her feet wet, but she showed up on every apparatus but vault here, and she looked strong, though is still holding back a bit with some downgrades.
On vault, for example, Saraiva is only competing a Yurchenko full, but it’s powerful and clean, and should score well at worlds if she can control the landing. Her bars had two dramatic falls on day one, which was a bit concerning, though she came back on day two with a 13.333 for a routine that is absolutely usable on the international level if needed (though her double front dismount was a bit of a struggle). And on beam, the two-foot layout series is gone for now, and she dismounted with just a layout, but she looked fantastic there with easier connections, and her quality of movement is as stunning as ever. She won the silver medal for her work there, and while her execution scores were a bit too high to be realistic internationally, she’s so textbook here, I think she could get into the final even without a sky-high start value.
Based on how everyone looked here, Andrade, Saraiva, Barbosa, Oliveira, and Soares are the obvious picks for the worlds team, with Lima the top option for the alternate spot. If everyone can just stay healthy for six more weeks and hit when it counts, this team has massive medal potential, even more so than last year with Barbosa in the mix. But even if the medal eludes them, they should pretty easily make the final and qualify a full team to Paris.
The men’s team picture feels similarly obvious, even after the devastating loss of Caio Souza, who recently suffered an Achilles injury. Souza aside, the men looked exactly how I expected based on what we’ve seen so far this year, and while Souza’s scores aren’t something that anyone else can replicate, there’s definitely a solution that should keep this team afloat, at least for an Olympics berth if not for a team final spot.
Yuri Guimarães ended up winning the all-around title with a 160.250 combined score, rising to the top spot after finishing third with a 78.900 on day one after a rough go on floor. Still, the rest of his work was excellent on that first day, and he repeated all of that in addition to improving his floor score to a 13.15 on day two, bringing him to an 81.350 to easily win the gold by two full points in addition to topping the vault standings and winning the bronze on parallel bars and high bar.
Also on the podium were Patrick Sampaio with a 158.350 for the silver medal after earning a 79.050 on day one and a 79.300 on day two, and Tomas Rodrigues with a 157.500 for the bronze medal after earning an 80.300 to lead on day one followed by a 77.200 on day two, a big drop thanks to a massive struggle to make it through high bar.
Despite that high bar routine, however, Rodrigues really proved himself as the best option to replace Souza, both thanks not only to his clean and consistent work across all six events on both days, but also to his two hit pommel horse routines. With pommels generally a rough apparatus for Souza, Rodrigues – who had scores of 13.65 and 13.15 to finish fourth – could actually some value to the team there where Souza could not, even though he falls behind in other areas and in overall scoring potential.
In addition to his all-around medal, Rodrigues won the parallel bars title, picked up the silver medal on rings and the bronze on floor, and he was one of the strongest vaulters among the athletes who competed in the all-around. Again, he doesn’t really match Souza’s potential on any of these, but his similar strengths should make it easier to seamlessly step in during Souza’s absence.
I think all five of the apparatus champions at this meet are the most likely to make up the team. In addition to Rodrigues on parallel bars and Guimarães on vault, there’s also Arthur Mariano, who competed every event but rings and won the titles on floor and high bar, Diogo Soares, who competed on every event but floor and vault and won the title on pommel horse, and Arthur Zanetti, who competed floor, rings, and vault, winning the rings title.
These five complement each other well, and while there are others who have the potential to add high scores here and there – like Johnny Oshiro, who had some of the best work of the competition on pommels and parallel bars to win the silver medals on both – they don’t slide into the overall puzzle as well as seamlessly, and that puzzle picture is going to be what gets the team to Paris even without its star all-arounder.
Sampaio, the second-best all-arounder, doesn’t have a ton of difficulty and his only top-three apparatus finish was on high bar, where he had scores of 13.4 and 13.55, but he was pretty solid on both days of competition and I think he has strong alternate potential.
There’s also Bernardo Miranda and Lucas Bitencourt, both of whom had rough performances on the first day of competition to earn matching scores of 74.150, but Miranda upped his score to a 78.650 on day two to finish seventh overall, while Bitencourt was ninth overall with a 78.100 on day two. And of course, there’s the veteran Francisco Barretto, who was fourth with a 157.400 after earning a 78.800 followed by a 78.600, showing how steady and reliable he is, and he has experience going for him in a way that most of the others in the mix do not.
It’ll be interesting to see what ends up happening, especially if there are any further tests that negate what happened this weekend, but it’s a great testament to this program that they do have multiple options moving forward, and even if none can compare to Souza, the men’s team is not at all at a loss with Paris on the line.
Article by Lauren Hopkins
Title: Barbosa Back on Top as Brazil’s National Champion in Stunning All-Around Return
Sourced From: thegymter.net/2023/08/20/barbosa-back-on-top-as-brazils-national-champion-in-stunning-all-around-return/
Published Date: Mon, 21 Aug 2023 03:15:16 +0000
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