An improbable scenario, even if the doubt has never hovered over the victory of the Americans, nor even over the identity of their immediate runners-up. Despite a fall by Alice Kinsella on the beam, European champion of the exercise in 2019, Great Britain offered itself a historic silver medal. Only once, in 2015, the English had tasted a world podium (3rd). And it was already at home, in Scottish Glasgow.
On the other hand, no one would have bet on Canada to validate with these two nations the three tickets at stake for a direct Olympic qualification. But it is indeed Ellie Black and her sisters who are guaranteed to visit Paris in 2024, at the same time as they win their first collective award at this level.
Perhaps because no one was expecting them, the Canadians made this final in their bubble. They were the only ones not to make major mistakes, the key to success with this demanding format that does not suffer from mediocrity. Ask the Brazilians, third in qualifying, but who could not compensate for the absence of Flavia Saraiva, injured in the ankle (4th); to the Japanese, who were so close to touching bronze as in 1962 and 1966, until Kokoro Fukasawa’s erratic and final passage to the asymmetrics of Kokoro Fukasawa, credited with an unworthy 9.40 points which demoted them to 7th place.
And to the French women, who will plague for a long time to have been so missed by their subject. Fall to the ground for Aline Friess, on the beam for Carolann Héduit, a minor jump for Coline Devillard, a blow from the bars for Mélanie De Jesus Dos Santos… 8th place does not reflect their potential, but rather their (counter- ) performance of the day.
The American team was however articulated around three students
Tuesday evening, Liverpool proved to be the capital of an Anglo-Saxon world dominated by the United States. Since 2011, the Americans have certainly given up Olympic gold last summer, but won all the other titles: the two Games in London and Rio, and the last six in the world. A record, better than the series of Romanians between 1994 and 2001 (5).
A capital hegemony while star Simone Biles and Olympic champion Sunisa Lee were missing. Above all, the team aligned revolved around three students, unheard of. Jade Carey and Jordan Chiles, team silver medalists in Tokyo, as well as Leanne Wong, their replacement in Japan, all completed their first university season in 2022. And this is not trivial. Before her, only five other Americans had risked this switch between two worlds so opposite.
“I was pretty sure that after the Games, I would stop and turn to studies, smiled Jade Carey, the Olympic floor champion, engaged with the University of Oregon. But I ended up realizing that all this experience in Tokyo, I viscerally wanted to relive it. » Jordan Chiles, she had not asked the question, certain that she would extend the lease until the Paris Games to experience them with her French coaches, Cécile and Laurent Landi. “But I also knew how hard it would be to attend class face-to-face, to be there for my NCAA team, to not cut after the college season… Let’s say I like a challenge. »
Why does this double course seem so delicate to assume? Because rules and rhythm have nothing to do. In the NCAA, the traditional 10-point rating, abolished by the elite in 2004, remains in force. The competitions take place every week in front of packed halls, but the technical constraints are less, the exercises on the ground only include two acrobatic diagonals, against three or four in the Olympic version, the variations on the bars are reduced by half, those on the beam connect only three or four elements.
“It is also forbidden to train for more than twenty hours a week, specifies Cécile Landi. Jordan’s coach at UCLA (Los Angeles) is one of my best friends, it helps to collaborate better. Jordan was able to maintain her physical preparation, but she had to relearn elements when we picked her up in April. » These three, associated with young Shilese Jones and Skye Blakely, have in any case proven that they are strong enough to cross the bridge.