Rounding Off: Olympic champion Rebeca Andrade set for first competition since Tokyo 2020

Plus, Eleftherios Petrounias and Vasiliki Millousi wed (again), robot judges and look back at Team France on floor from Atlanta 1996

By Scott Bregman
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

2020 Olympic vault gold medallist Rebeca Andrade of Brazil is participating in the Brazilian Gymnastics National Championships. The competition, which is her first since the Tokyo Games, begins Friday (1 October) and fans can watch the competition live through the Brazilian Olympic Committee website. Andrade’s competitive session begins at 2:30pm local time.

Andrade made history at the Tokyo Games. Her vault gold medal is the first for a Brazilian woman in gymnastics, and just the second Brazilian gold medal in the sport after Arthur Zanetti’s 2012 rings gold. In the women’s all-around, she finished with the silver medal.

Her triumphs in Tokyo came after years of struggle: Andrade tore her ACL for a third time in 2019 and then came Olympic postponement.

“I've overcome a lot of things and each time I overcame something tough, I was more determined to come back, I wanted to win even more,” Andrade told in October 2019.

The Brazilian Gymnastics Federation has posted videos of Andrade during training. Despite limited time since Tokyo, Andrade looks strong performing a double-twisting Yurchenko and a floor routine that included a double layout, double tuck and double pike.

The 22-year-old is scheduled to be Brazil’s sole women’s representative at the upcoming World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Kitakyushu, Japan.

Congrats (again) to Eleftherios Petrounias and Vasiliki Millousi

2016 Olympic still rings champion Eleftherios Petrounias and three-time Olympian Vasiliki Millousi were ‘remarried’ this week, according to an Instagram post by Petrounias.

“I thought my heart would not beat hard, but I was wrong,” he wrote. “I could not feel otherwise because it was one of the most beautiful moments of my life with a beautiful bride and two angels next to me!”

Petrounias, who won bronze on his signature event in Tokyo, and Millousi, who represented Greece at the 2000, 2012, and 2016 Games, had been married in a civil ceremony in 2019, but after the birth of their two daughters opted for a religious ceremony this week. The nuptials were attended by former Greek president Prokopis Pavlopoulos.

The robots (judges) are coming

This week, the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) provided an update on the possibility of an artificial intelligence assisted judging system in partnership with Fujitsu.

"Developed by Fujitsu engineers, the “robot judging” support system, based on 3D-sensing Artificial Intelligence Technology that consists of a camera equipped with a 3D sensor, captures a gymnast’s movements and transmits images and data to a computer that projects a graphic 3D image of the gymnast’s performance," reads a release of the FIG website.

The system, after collecting data at the last three world championships and the 2019 junior worlds, can currently recognise more than 1,300 elements across five different apparatus (still rings, pommel horse, men's and women's vault, and balance beam).

The FIG hopes the system will be available for all 10 artistic gymnastics apparatus by the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

From the vault…

The innovative French women compete their optional floor routines at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Overall, the team finished in eighth place. Cecile Canqueteau, now Cecile Landi, led the rotation for Team France, scoring 9.700. At Tokyo 2020, she coached Americans Simone Biles and Jordan Chiles.