2016 Rio Test Event | First-Time Olympic Qualifiers Make History

The 2016 Rio Test Event was the last chance for gymnasts to qualify for the Olympic Games in Rio. The top eight teams at the 2015 World Championships clinched automatic berths, and the next eight competed in the Test Event for the last four spots. Read more on the teams headed to Rio here.

For individual qualification, many gymnasts made historic impacts on their countries by becoming either the first-ever or the first female artistic gymnasts from their respective nations to qualify to the Olympics. See the full list of individual qualifiers here.


Toni-Ann Williams - Jamaica


Williams had an impressive performance at the Test Event and finished 38th overall. Her 52.931 all-around was enough to earn an individual spot at the Games for Jamaica. Because the Test Event was the same weekend as the NCAA Championships, she wasn’t able to help Cal in its title bid, but she sure was still chasing big goals last weekend.

Williams was also Jamaica’s first gymnast to compete at the senior international level when she appeared in her first Worlds in 2011, and now she has made an even bigger impact on her country.


Marisa Dick - Trinidad and Tobago


Dick is the first gymnast from Trinidad and Tobago to qualify to the Olympics. She wasn’t planning on competing in the Test Event until she was called in at the last minute to replace Thema Williams—a somewhat controversial decision made by the federation following podium training.

Dick traveled to Rio the day before the competition, and didn’t have any time to practice on the equipment like the other athletes, but still scored a 51.365 for 55th overall and a berth to the Summer Games.


Houry Gebeshian - Armenia


Gebeshian, the self-trained 26-year-old physician's assistant who defies all gymnastics stereotypes, took a break from delivering babies for the weekend to compete at the Test Event. She will become the first female Armenian gymnast to compete at the Olympics.

After striving to achieve this goal but falling short back in 2012, Gebeshian has made history for Armenia and is looking to help grow their program as a whole. A few years ago, she was pursuing a different path and wasn't practicing gymnastics, but returned to the sport in 2014 with motivation and a big goal. Her comeback story proves she is the ultimate fighter.


Dipa Karmarkar - India


Karmarkar scored a 52.968 at the Test Event and will be the first-ever female gymnast from India to represent her country at the Games.

Known for her incredible vaulting abilities, Karmarkar performs the wildly difficult Prudonova (Front handspring double front). She notched an impressive fifth place in the vault final at the 2015 World Championships and had another incredible showing at the Test Event. She scored a 15.066 on vault, which was tied with Switzerland’s star Giulia Steingruber for the highest vault score of the competition.

Karmarkar’s all-around score from Worlds originally made her an alternate for the Test Event, but she was given a chance to compete due to others who pulled out. Now, she is headed to Rio.


Ellis O'Reilly - Ireland


O'Reilly scored a 50.032 at the Test Event to become the first female Olympic qualifier from Ireland.


Ariana Orrego - Peru


Orrego earned the first female spot for Peru after scoring a 52.232.


Irina Sazanova - Iceland


Sazanova of Iceland scored a 52.931 to become the first female from her country to qualify to the Games.


Farah Boufadene - Algeria


Unfortunately, Boufadene had to withdraw from the Test Event due to injury. However, Algeria (and South Africa) was still given a qualification spot so that Africa would have representatives from the entire continent. Boufadene will be the first female participant ever for Algeria.


Lastly, when it comes to making history, huge props to Uzbekistan’s Oksana Chusovitina, who has competed at every Olympics since 1992. She is officially the first gymnast ever to qualify for seven Olympic Games. She’s 40 years old, and still going so strong!

Congrats to all of these incredible gymnasts who are heroes for their countries and inspiring entire generations.


Related:
2016 Rio Test Event - Women's Team Qualifiers
2016 Rio Test Event - Women's Individual All-Around Qualifiers

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