Day 2: Flavia Saraiva

Yesterday in our #countdowntoRio we focused upon the oldest female gymnast in the Games, today we’ll look at one of the youngest competitors and the poster girl for her home Olympics in Brazil.

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16 year-old Flavia Saraiva is simply a joy to watch and has quickly become a national sweetheart. She combines such energy, elegance and expressive artistry on all the apparatus and I’m a huge fan of her beam routine where she performs such a solid and yet perfectly flighted free walkover, free walkover, side aerial series. Watch it here:

Flavia Beam Routine, World Cup 2016

Also, check out her personal Flavia Instagram for a video of a crazily high and neat QUAD twist as well as lots of other great photos!

After a disappointing outing at the World Championships in October where they lost out on automatic qualification, the Brazilian team’s hopes of competing at their own Olympics were fading. However, at the Test Event in Rio and with the backing of the home crowd proving that they can thrive off an electric atmosphere and heaps of pressure, they pulled off a great performance and took the first team spot for the Games.

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There’s great range and depth to their team, from the bubbly Saraiva to Jade ‘abs of steel’ Barbosa (check out her Insta if you don’t believe me) to now five time Olympian Daniele Hypolito (she’s hot on Oksana’s heels) – brother of Diego, who will compete for the Men’s Team and has thankfully grown back his dark hair. They don’t really have the difficulty scores to rank them amongst the top teams but it’s amazing what a home crowd can do so I wouldn’t be surprised to see some confident and energetic PB performances from the girls and hopefully an individual beam final for Flavia!

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She’s already proved her mettle in the transition from junior to senior competitions, coming second all-around in the Youth Olympics in 2014 and then third all-around in the 2015 Pan American Games behind the hugely experienced Ellie Black of  Canada and USA’s now retired Madison Desch. If not in 2016, expect great things come 2020 from this fiery little powerhouse!