Reigning Olympic champions China announced four of their five Olympic team members last month: Sui Lu, Yao Jinnan, Jiang Yuyuan and Deng Linlin. The fifth spot was left open. Readers may remember Stoi! covering this a few weeks back.
The final berth was between three athletes: He Kexin, Tan Sixin and Jiang Yuyuan. We wanted the divine Tan Sixin, possibly the most interesting athlete to come out of China in what has been a rather ordinary quad for them. Her Youth Olympic Games beam title winning set remains one of the highlights of the past few years- and as an aside, it’s interesting how many of the quad’s best perfomances were delivered at that one junior competition.
But we didn’t get our way.
Our readers, as it turned out, were right. Instead of going for the headcase divine, they went for the headcase cheat. He Kexin will be attending her first legal Olympics. Woop de fucking do.
She is likely to be a one eventer, as it has been more than a year since she competed her DTY and she’s never really troubled the beam or floor lineups. It’s all about bars.
We would hazard a guess that the TF lineups will be as follows:
VT- Deng Linlin, Huang Qiushuang, Yao Jinnan
UB- Huang Qiushuang, Yao Jinnan, He Kexin
BB- Deng Linlin, Sui Lu, Yao Jinnan
FX- Huang Qiushuang, Sui Lu, Yao Jinnan
Huang Qiushung is training an Amanar, so that livens things up a bit.
This means all the top four teams are likely to have at least one 6.5 vault in TFs. They’ll certainly need this to offset Deng Linlin’s relative weakness- her DTY at Chinese Nationals was rather poor.
The team depart very soon, and will train at Salto Gymnastics just outside Belfast. Coach Lu has made some noises about He Kexin’s spot not being guaranteed, too. At the moment, we suspect this is designed to motivate her. But, like the Russians, they don’t have a USOC style federation breathing down their necks. There’s plenty of time for the lineup to be messed with.