dimanche 17 avril 2016

Olympic Test Event: historical 7th place for the Men's team!

At the Rio Test Event, the Men's team made quite a big splash on the World's stage as they finished in 7th and beat their team total record by 6 points!

Credit: GymFed
Wow! That's the first word that comes to my mind when I think about what Belgium men's team has achieved in Rio. As a hardcore fan and a patriot, I was impatient to see what the boys had in store for us. 

Let me just say that following a competition through livescores but without actually see the competition is WAY more stressful than seeing it. All I could do was pray and see a good score coming up. And my prayers were heard.

Last night in Rio, Maxime Gentges, Jimmy Verbaeys, Daan Kenis, Bram Louwije, Siemon Volkaert and Dennis Goossens hit routines after routines after routines. There were actually two mistakes, but this is not the most important thing here.

Belgium started on vault and right from the beginning, they showed they weren't there to just sit and watch the big nations fight for an Olympic spot. As an exemple, Daan scored a massive 15.208! Then, that's when I started to worry because for the next two subdivisions, Belgium only had 4 gymnasts on parallel bars and horizontal bars, meaning they couldn't afford to make mistakes. And they didn't. Yes, there were some landings deductions, but the lowest score was a 13.900, which is pretty awesome!

Credit: FfG
Moving on to floor exercise, Belgium was still in contention, just behind the Netherlands. Daan and Siemon got Belgium's highest scores with 14.633! On pommel horse, Daan might have had a mistake, but it didn't really impact the team total. Other than that, Belgium was pretty consistent, as Maxime and Siemon both got 14.233 and Bram and Jimmy both got 13.966. They finished on rings, where Dennis made the show to earn a 14.900.

In the end, Belgium placed 7th with a team total of 342.534. To give you a comparison, it is 6 points HIGHER than at Worlds last year. 6 points! In the gymnastics world, that's huge. And this mark of 342 points is now the best team score ever obtained by a team from Belgium. Now, of course we all wanted the boys to qualify. I'm sure it was in here somewhere in the back of their minds too. And it would have been so great but let's stay realistic. Against teams such as Germany, Ukraine, France and the Netherlands (who all qualified for the Olympics by the way), Belgium had few chances to make it. And that's okay. Because they gave it all. Because they showed what they were capable of. Because they showed once again that yes, they weren't supposed to be there at first, but they belong anyway. Yesterday wasn't about performance. It was about experience. Experiencing great moments. The boys had nothing to lose and they gave it all

Like Maxime Gentges said in an interview, they were aiming for the Top 24 two years ago. Last year, they were 17th and now they are approaching the Top 12. Team Belgium improves every year and it is improving FAST! Individually, Maxime Gentges also broke a personal record and scored 85.498. Jimmy Verbaeys was not far behind with 84.631. Daan (83.807) and Bram (83.798) also achieved amazing all-around results. Gentlemen, you can be extremely proud of what you've accomplished in Rio. In the last couple of years, you never ceased to impress me. I'm not scared for your future. Because it will be bright.

Guys, thank you.

Full results here

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