Gymnastics, Olympics

Rio Notebook: Caribbean Gymnasts 

Of the quintet of Caribbean island gymnasts that qualified to the 2016 Olympics, Manrique Larduet was unquestionably the one expected to be the most successful. He still was the most successful of the group, but unfortunately an ankle injury sustained before the competition started severely hampered his results.

Manrique kicked of his Olympics with a 15th place result during qualifications (86.814 point total), including a very uncharacteristic 11.766 for a botched vault.

Hopes were high that he could rebound in the all-around final where he was expected to be a medal contender, but wasn’t meant to be. After a solid 15.133 on rings to start, he sat his vault and had to withdraw from the rest of the meet because of re-aggravating the sore ankle.

Fortunately, Manrique qualified to parallel bars and high bar finals where he was able to compete after a few days rest and therapy. He finished 5th in the parallel bars final and 6th in the high bar final.

Manrique’s teammate Randy Leru also competed, finishing 43rd in qualifications (82.398). Randy narrowly missed out on the parallel bars final, which was the hardest men’s final to make by minimum qualifying score. The qualifying score for finals in that event was 15.466, Randy scored a 15.000.

The third Cuban gymnast to compete, Marcia Videaux, was the highest finishing woman for the Caribbean gymnast contingent. Marcia finished 48th in qualifications (52.024). Unfortunately, she missed her goal of qualifying to vault finals after falling on one of her two vaults.

As the first gymnast to compete for Jamaica, Toni-Ann Williams did well for herself. She put up the 54th best all-around score in qualifications (50.966) with the biggest highlight being her stuck double front dismount off beam. Well, biggest highlight gymnastics-wise. Toni-Ann was able to meet Usain Bolt, who she wasn’t shy about her hopes to meet while in the Olympic Village.

Last, but not least, Marisa Dick of Trinidad & Tobago weathered the stormy path to become TTO’s first gymnast Olympian to finish 55th in qualifications (50.832). Beam was also her highlight event. Marisa debuted another mount (switch split leap with a 1/2 twist onto the beam), which should become her 2nd eponymous skill when the official competition report is posted by the FIG.

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