On Tuesday, a team of Canadian teens will get a chance to show how it stacks up against the powerhouse countries in women’s artistic gymnastics.
With a solid outing in Sunday’s qualification round, Canada’s gymnasts became the first from this country to reach the women’s team final at a non-boycotted Games. It’s a big jump for Canada, which didn’t even qualify a team for the 2008 Olympics. They had only two individual gymnasts in Beijing.
Kristina Vaculik, Dominique Pegg, Brittany Rogers, Victoria Moors and Ellie Black earned their spot by finishing eighth out of 12 teams in qualifying. If they want to jockey upward in that list of tough nations, they will have to be flawless on Tuesday.
The Canadians were solid in most of the four events on Sunday but had a weak performance on the balance beam. They will need to shore up there and hope for some missteps by other teams.
The podium would be a major stretch for Canada, due to the utter dominance of Russia, the United States and Romania. The American women haven’t won the event since the Magnificent Seven did it at the 1996 Games in Atlanta, with athletes like Kerri Strug and Dominique Moceanu. But this group, starring Jordyn Wieber and Gabby Douglas, has expressed real hunger for it. And they have the difficulty and precision in their routines to get it done.