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Maellyse Brassart

The Olympic qualification process is slowly wrapping up over the next few weeks with the continental championship qualifiers, where one WAG and one MAG athlete from each continent will earn an a nominative berth based on their performances in the all-around competition at each meet.

With the Pan Am Games serving as the qualifier for the American continents wrapping up last fall and being officially confirmed following the conclusion of the world cup series last month, next on the list were the European Championships, where Maellyse Brassart of Belgium finished 11th in qualifications and first on the list of eligible WAG athletes while Marios Georgiou of Cyprus won the men’s all-around title outright to seal his spot.

Brassart, who also attempted to qualify through the world cup series, came into Euros as one of the top contenders for a spot, and she did not disappoint with her performance, earning a 51.932 with a steady set of routines in the first subdivision. While there were a few other athletes who seemed capable of getting the upset in later subdivisions – most notably Nathalie Westlund and Jennifer Williams of Sweden and Vanesa Masova of Czechia, all of whom performed exceedingly well – ultimately Brassart was able to hang on until the end, snagging the spot just five tenths ahead of Westlund and six tenths ahead of Masova, while a fall from Williams on her beam dismount held her back by just under a point (though the incredible performances from the Swedish team in general helped them to a first-ever team finals appearance!).

Outside of Olympic qualification, Euros were an exciting and devastating event for the Italian hosts, who took home a total of eight medals, nearly sweeping the golds – including the team title two points ahead of the Brits – though missing out on a vault medal after yet another devastating injury to Asia D’Amato, who landed badly on her final floor pass to re-injure her ACL, taking her out of the conversation for the Olympic Games.

On a happier note, the meet was a star-making performance for Manila Esposito, who won the all-around title with a 55.432 in addition to snagging the gold medals on beam with a 14.4 and on floor with a 13.833 with truly brilliant work at every step of her competition. Meanwhile, Alice D’Amato, who was crushed watching her twin sustain yet another season-ending injury on a major international competition floor, fought through the pain to win the all-around silver medal with a 54.831 and then the bars gold with a 14.6.

Elisa Iorio stepped up to contribute on two events in the team final after also winning the silver medal on bars with a 14.366, and Angela Andreoli, who came onto the team last-minute to replace Giorgia Villa and then stepped into an all-around role last-minute to replace the injured D’Amato, ended up with the bronze on floor with a 13.666 and also finished third all-around with a 53.766, though she was unable to medal there due to the two-per-country limitations.

With Andreoli not eligible for the podium, Alice Kinsella was able to come in for the bronze with a 53.599, and she again proved to be an incredible leader for the British team, contributing well on all four events to help them to the silver medal. Georgia-Mae Fenton also went home with an individual medal with a 13.9 on bars to take the bronze, while Becky Downie went for broke with a big difficulty routine in that final, and though she fell there, she came back with a big hit in the team final to earn a 14.633.

Ruby Evans again proved her worth with big numbers on vault and floor in the team final, while first-year senior Abigail Martin, who stepped onto the team as the alternate replacing the injured Ondine Achampong, really impressed with her performances, making the floor final with a super powerful set that landed her in seventh.

The team bronze medal went to France, led by two-time Olympian Marine Boyer, who showed an especially stunning beam set in the apparatus final to win the bronze with a 14.033. The team was a bit hit-or-miss as a whole, but Coline Devillard was strong and consistent on vault to win another continental title there, while first-year senior Ming van Eijken also brought a rudi to the table to stand alongside her on the podium with the bronze. With the best floor routine from the French team, van Eijken also made that final, and showed why she might be pushing for one of the “regular’s” spots when it comes time to pick the Paris team this summer. Morgane Osyssek has been super valuable with the ability to contribute on every event, but lacks the level of vault and floor scores van Eijken is capable of, while Lorette Charpy didn’t look a hundred percent here and struggled even on her best event. Once Mélanie De Jesus Dos Santos returns to the picture, I think Charpy and van Eijken are most at risk of being replaced, but right now I’d go with van Eijken based on potential top team scoring simulations.

The other individual medalists in Rimini included Valentina Georgieva of Bulgaria, who became the first Bulgarian woman to win a continental medal since 1990, and the second Bulgarian woman to win a silver medal on vault, following in the footsteps of Milena Mavrodieva who won in 1989; and Sabrina Voinea of Romania, who won the silver medals on beam with a 14.166 and on floor with a 13.7, showing routines that weren’t always form-perfect, but had a level of difficulty, confidence, and fight that went unmatched.

France and Italy were the standouts of the junior competition, with France taking the team title in addition to seeing Elena Colas win the all-around with a 53.265 and Maiana Prat winning the bronze with a 50.899, while Italy won the silver team medal led by Giulia Perotti, who took silver in the all-around with a 52.498.

For France, Colas also won gold on bars and bronze on vault, Prat won gold on beam, Lola Chassat won bronze on bars, and Perla Denechere won bronze on floor, and for Italy, Perotti took home a pair of gold medals on bars and floor, while Benedetta Gava and Emma Puato won the gold and silver on vault, and Emma Fioravanti won the silver on floor. Also medaling here were Sien Ghekiere of Belgium with the bronze on bars, with Belgium also surprising to take the team bronze, and Madita Mayr of Germany with the silver on beam.

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Marios Georgiou

In the men’s competition, Georgiou also came in as a top contender, so it wasn’t a surprise to see him earn the berth, but watching him get it done while also winning the gold medal with an 84.265 was a thrilling finish. Georgiou also helped Cyprus qualify to the team final for the first time in history, and went on to win three more medals in the apparatus finals, including silver on parallel bars and a pair of bronze medals on pommel horse and high bar.

Behind Georgiou on the men’s podium was also a bit of a surprise, with Oleg Verniaiev of Ukraine winning the silver with an 84.031 and Yumin Abbadini of Italy winning the bronze with an 83.765.

In the floor final, the gold went to Luke Whitehouse of Great Britain with a 14.866, edging out Artem Dolgopyat of Israel with a 14.833 for silver, while Krisztofer Meszaros of Hungary won the bronze with a 14.6. Rhys McClenaghan of Ireland nailed his set to win gold with a 15.3, ahead of Loran de Munck of the Netherlands with a 14.933 for silver and Georgio with a 14.8 for bronze, while on rings, we saw a super tight battle led by Eleftherios Petrounias of Greece with a 15.0 for gold, followed by Nikita Simonov of Azerbaijan and Adem Asil of Türkiye both with score of 14.9, though Simonov won the tie-break by a tenth on execution to take the silver ahead of Asil with the bronze.

On vault, Jake Jarman of Great Britain stunned with big difficulty to average a 14.883, getting the upset for gold over Artur Davtyan of Armenia, who wound up with a 14.85 for silver, while Nazar Chepurnyi of Ukraine won the bronze with a 14.749. Illia Kovtun of Ukraine wasn’t completely at his best here, though still put on an impressive show on both parallel bars and high bar to take the titles on both with scores of 15.633 and 14.6, respectively, while Georgiou won the parallel bars silver with a 14.866 and the high bar bronze with a 14.366. The bronze medal on parallel bars went to Noe Seifert of Switzerland with a 14.833, while the silver medal on high bar went to Robert Tvorogal of Lithuania, who qualified to the Olympics on this apparatus via the world cup series, and who put up a 14.566 here.

In the team final, Ukraine ended up getting a massive upset over the team from Great Britain, winning the gold just three tenths ahead despite Kovtun being unable to compete floor or vault due to a nagging injury. The British team looked much better than they did in qualifications, thanks especially to some improvements from Joe Fraser on his three events, but a weaker high bar rotation than the Ukrainians held them back in the standings. Coming in for the bronze were the Italians, who came in a bit shy of difficulty compared to the top teams, but showed especially strong work on pommels and high bar.

The junior competition saw Anthony Mansard of France win the all-around final with an 81.499, ahead of Tommaso Brugnami of Italy with an 80.832 for the silver medal, and Gabriel Langton of Great Britain with a 79.564 for bronze. Mansard also won the gold on high bar and a pair of silver medals on floor and parallel bars, while Brugnami won the floor and rings titles along with the silver medal on vault, and Langton won silver on rings.

Also winning apparatus titles were Hamlet Manukyan of Armenia with a 14.5 on pommel horse, Sol Scott of Great Britain with a 14.466 average on vault, and Uzair Chowdhury of Great Britain with a 14.066 on parallel bars. The British team won the team title by just two hundredths ahead of the Italians, while France took the bronze a little over a point back from the top two programs, and we saw a fantastic performance from one of Austria’s strongest teams ever, seeing them finish fourth place ahead of many teams that generally far outscore them.

Complete results for the women’s competitions are available here and for the men’s competitions are available here. You can also see a full list of all who have qualified to the Olympic Games on our WAG tracker and MAG tracker.

Article by Lauren Hopkins


By: Lauren
Title: Brassart, Georgiou Earn Olympic Berths at European Championships
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Published Date: Thu, 09 May 2024 14:17:44 +0000

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Tiger Woods missed the PGA Championship cut but his legacy played on

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Tiger Woods has always played to win. Since turning professional in 1996, he has won 82 tournaments, including 15 major championships. Perhaps, more astonishing than the victories and majors is the 142-event made cut streak that lasted over a seven-year period from 1998 to 2005, when he was the most dominant golfer that the game has ever seen.

Woods never said he was the greatest. He didn’t need to. “There is no sense in going to a tournament if you don’t believe that you can win it,” he once said.

Yet, coming into the PGA Championship at the Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, Woods was circumspect about his chances of hoisting his fifth Wanamaker Trophy. Asked about the state of his game, he admitted that he was rusty and that the barrage of injuries had taken a toll on his body. “I can still hit shots,” he said on Tuesday. “It’s getting around is more of the difficulty that I face day-to-day and the recovery of pushing myself either in practice or in competition days.”

When the tournament began on Thursday, Woods, who was making his 23rd appearance in the PGA Championship, performed like the part-time player that he has become over the last several years. On his way to a 1-over par 72, the 48-year-old World Golf Hall of Famer hit a smattering of good shots but hardly kept pace in a first round that saw a record 64 players shoot under par scores.

“It’s just the competitive flow,” he said after the round. “It took me probably three holes to get back into competitive flow again and get a feel for hitting the ball out there in competition, adrenaline, temperatures, green speeds. These are all things that normally I adjust to very quickly, and it just took me a few holes to get into it.”

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Tiger Woods holds the Wanamaker Trophy after winning the 82nd PGA Championship on Aug. 20, 2000, at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky.

David Cannon/Getty Images

By Friday afternoon, the tournament had been temporarily upstaged by the early morning arrest of Scottie Scheffler, the game’s No. 1 ranked player, for allegedly disobeying a police officer’s order at the entrance to the Valhalla Golf Club. Looking invincible like the Woods of old, Scheffler settled down after the shock of being handcuffed and hauled off to jail to shoot a 5-under par 66 to go into the weekend with a chance to win his second major of the year after taking the Masters last month. As Scheffler went off to answer questions about spending time in a Louisville holding cell, Woods was starting his round and would need a good one to avoid missing just his 15th cut in 93 major appearances.

Starting his second round two shots off the projected cut of 1 under par, Woods went seven over par in his first four holes to guarantee that he would miss the cut. It’s hard to imagine a worst scenario for a player already battling competitive rust and old age in a game dominated by much younger players. Here he was looking ahead to the next tournament, the next opportunity to show that he could still play at next month’s U.S. Open at Pinehurst, but stuck for five hours on a golf course where he had solidified his legend 24 years earlier in an epic duel with Bob May at the 2000 PGA Championship.

Back then when Woods was in the morning of his career, he turned the Jack Nicklaus-designed Valhalla Golf Club into a theater with a two-act play and May as his benevolent antagonist. In the final round in 2000, they matched each other shot for shot, creating a drama unprecedented in televised golf history. Then in the three-hole aggregate playoff, Woods survived to win by one stroke. That victory at Valhalla was the third leg of the Tiger Slam, which climaxed when Woods won the 2001 Masters.

But these are different times in the game of golf. In 2000, the PGA Tour was in the beginning of a period of monumental growth as an outsized talent with a mixed racial heritage was transforming what had long been identified as a country club sport played mostly by white people. To many, Woods was the game and the PGA Tour was his home. Now, no longer the masterful player capable of holding your attention for hours on Sunday with his feats of excellence, Woods has become a senior statesman in the game and a defender of what he has helped to build in the sport over the last 30 years.

As the biggest name on both the PGA Tour Policy Board and the PGA Tour Enterprises Board, Woods has become one of the most powerful figures in negotiations between the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which funds LIV Golf. During what is turning out to be a slow and painful exit from competitive golf, Woods is helping to set the direction of the future of the game.

At Valhalla, he took on his new role.

“We’re trying to make the PGA TOUR the best it can be day-in and day-out,” he said Tuesday. “That’s one of the reasons why we have arguments and we have disagreements, but we want to do what’s best for everyone in golf and the TOUR.”

About the PGA Tour’s negotiations with LIV Golf, he said, “we’re making steps and it may not be giant steps, but we’re making steps.”

Easily missing the cut at the PGA Championship after a six-over par 77 on Friday, Woods didn’t take any steps toward reclaiming a place at the top of the pecking order of the best players. At Valhalla, he still commanded the biggest galleries like he did when he won there 24 years ago. Back then, he was looked upon by many as the savior of the game, who gave an inspiring and life-changing sermon on Sunday afternoons with his golf clubs.

That seemingly ubiquitous presence on Sundays is waning, but his star still shines brightly over these players still playing on the weekend on a stage he set for them.


By: Farrell Evans
Title: Tiger Woods missed the PGA Championship cut but his legacy played on
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Published Date: Sat, 18 May 2024 16:07:58 +0000

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Three Olympic All-Around Champions Headline U.S. Classic Field

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Simone Biles

Gymnastics fans are in for a massive treat at the U.S. Classic this weekend in Hartford, where the three most recent Olympic all-around champions – Gabby Douglas (London 2012), Simone Biles (Rio 2016), and Sunisa Lee (Tokyo 2020) – will headline a field of 50 senior athletes that also includes Olympic and world medalists Skye Blakely, Jade Carey, Jordan Chiles, Kayla DiCello, Shilese Jones, Joscelyn Roberson, Leanne Wong, and Lexi Zeiss.

The U.S. Classic acts as the final chance to earn a spot at the U.S. national championships, but with nearly all of the athletes we’ll see here already qualified, this year’s competition will be more of a practice round for the more important meets in the lead-up to the Olympic Games, with both nationals and trials coming up over the next month.

With this in mind, I’d expect many of the top competitors to show up not fully prepared, but ready to tackle some of the routines they’re hoping will make them contenders for the team next month, but I also wouldn’t be surprised to see a few of them show up looking to make a statement with their readiness and ability to stun this early on. This tactic doesn’t always work, as we sometimes see the U.S. Classic winners not even make the major international teams they’re after, but the Olympic year is always a little different, and I think we’ll be in for a few big all-around treats this year as well.

My expectations will remain on the low side, however, as the U.S. Classic is typically where we also see the most uncharacteristic mistakes as athletes are often shaking off the dust and trying to fight through early season nerves while also sometimes attempting new skills that don’t always go as planned. But again, while this competition could work in favor for some of the athletes on the bubble of potentially being named to the Olympic team, a weak performance here will not count anyone out.

For the few who do need to qualify to nationals, senior gymnasts must earn a 51.000 all-around score, a 39.000 three-event score, or a 26.400 two-event score, while juniors must earn a 49.500 all-around score.

The U.S. Classic and the associated Hopes Championships will be held at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut, beginning on May 17 with with the Hopes Championships and the junior women’s competition, and concluding on May 18 with two sessions of senior competition. Complete streaming details are available thanks to USA Gymnastics, and a full list of competitors is below.

Simone Biles
Skye Blakely
Ly Bui
Jade Carey
Dulcy Caylor
Jordan Chiles
Chloe Cho
Norah Christian
Nicole Desmond
Kayla DiCello
Amelia Disidore
Gabby Douglas
Tatum Drusch
Reese Esponda
Addison Fatta
Kieryn Finnell
Jayla Hang
Cambry Haynes
Jazmyn Jimenez*
Madray Johnson
Shilese Jones
Katelyn Jong
Sunisa Lee
Myli Lew
Kaliya Lincoln
Eveylynn Lowe
Nola Matthews
Konnor McClain
Tayor McMahon*
Annalisa Milton
Malea Milton
Zoey Molomo
Marissa Neal
Jazlene Pickens*
Brooke Pierson
Hezly Rivera
Joscelyn Roberson
Simone Rose
Lacie Saltzmann*
Audrey Snyder*
Izzy Stassi*
Ashlee Sullivan
Tiana Sumanasekera
Trinity Thomas
Brynn Torry
Sabrina Visconti*
CaMarah Williams
Leanne Wong
Kelise Woolford*
Lexi Zeiss

*Not yet qualified to nationals

Harlow Buddendeck*
Charleigh Bullock
Lavi Crain
Ally Damelio
Celia Frith-Carvalho*
Sadie Goldberg*
Greta Krob*
Jaysha McClendon
Caroline Moreau
Claire Pease
Lila Richardson*
Alessia Rosa*
Kylie Smith
Maliha Tressel
Tyler Turner
Trinity Wood*

* Not yet qualified to nationals

HOPES 13-14
Iyla Adkins
Ashley Andrews
Elisabeth Antone
Tiraia Ballard
Brooke Bazan
Addison Blosser
Lyla Brewer
Emmy Cunningham
Eva Doherty
Mavie Fitzgerald
Alessandra Gaines
Blake Green
Leah Higgis
Isla Lazzari
Anslee McCauley
Annabel Melnyk
Amia Pugh-Banks
Quinlyn Rollins
Simone Seed
Ansley Stevens
Sage Stiggers
Finley Young
HOPES 11-12
Giana Carroll
Laynie Cotton
Alden Dante
Elsie Flores
Gillian Haddad
Avery Haines
Charlotte Henk
Hadassah Kahlig
Sapphire Martin
Amariah Moore
Jazzy Saravia
Mattie Mae Young

Article by Lauren Hopkins


By: Lauren
Title: Three Olympic All-Around Champions Headline U.S. Classic Field
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Published Date: Fri, 17 May 2024 08:53:53 +0000

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Century Scrambling to Fill Second 24H Spa Entry

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Photo: BMW

Century Motorsport has been left scrambling to find a replacement driver lineup for a second Bronze Cup entry for the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa after the original driver combination fell through, according to team principal Nathan Freke.

In addition to its full-season Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup effort for Darren Leung, Toby Sowery and reigning Formula E world champion Jake Dennis, Freke revealed to Sportscar365 that the team successfully managed to acquire a second entry for the Belgian endurance classic.

A four-man lineup, set to compete in Bronze Cup, had been in place as part of a deal agreed in December, only for plans to fall through at late notice.

“Basically, we pulled all sorts of strings to get an entry because it was full,” Freke said.

“At the last minute they basically bailed out because one of the drivers has got some business issues and they’ve sort of forfeited the entry.

“But the entry’s been paid and it’s in. So, just the fact we pulled so many strings to try and get an entry, it just seems a shame to forgo it, really.”

Freke stated that the team is pushing “full throttle” to ensure a two-car presence at Spa, with the aim of putting together another lineup eligible of competing in Bronze Cup.

Century is set to make its first outing in the 24H Spa, having won the British GT Championship with Leung and Dan Harper last year.

Former racer turned team principal Freke described Century’s participation in the event as “the next logical thing” after it has been a consistent presence in British GT since it debuted in 2009.

It ran Ginetta machinery in GT4 for the first number of years. After a first venture into GT3 with the British brand in 2017, it switched to running BMW a year later.

“It’s been on our to-do list for quite some time now,” Freke said about the 24H Spa.

“We obviously had a very successful last year. We did the GT World Challenge with Darren [Leung], and it just seemed like the time is right.

“We need to make that step, and we did Dubai at the start of the year. Obviously finished first in Pro-Am and third overall and it’s just the next logical thing for us to do.

“And I guess because I put some pressure on SRO to get the entry, A, I don’t want to lose face, and B, I don’t want to squander the opportunity because next time you do the same thing, it’s not going to swing your way probably, because you’ve already called your favours in, if you like.”

Although Century is debuting in the 24H Spa this year, Freke says the team will be banking on its experience in the Hankook 24H Dubai.

“We’ve done Dubai since 2016. We’ve run two cars regularly there, albeit not GT3s. We actually ran three cars in Dubai [this year] with two GT3s and a GT4.

“So structural-wise and logistics-wise, it’s something we’re not unused to. Yes, it’s a big undertaking, and yes, Spa is a more prestigious race, but ultimately, a 24-hour race is a 24-hour race.

“The objective is to keep the car reliable, keep the mechanicals running well, obviously keep the drivers out of any incidents and just do a tidy job on the rest of it.

“So from a team point of view, I think we’re more than ready for it.”


By: Davey Euwema
Title: Century Scrambling to Fill Second 24H Spa Entry
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Published Date: Thu, 16 May 2024 11:45:31 +0000

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