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Thursday, April 25, 2024

The Netherlands Had a Excellent 2023 European Championships – An Previous Faculty Gymnastics Weblog


The 2023 European Championships was a exceptional showdown between the British and Italian gymnasts, however I couldn’t assist however really feel the most important storyline was what the gymnasts from the Netherlands had completed. The Dutch program had success in 4 completely different areas and I needed to focus on every of them.

This text additionally has a Half II which is a particular profile of Naomi Visser.

Sanne Wevers

Sanne Wevers wins a gold medal on beam

This was essentially the most excessive profile and most blatant spotlight the Dutch program achieved on the 2023 European Championships. The Netherlands received gold, and did it because of the contributions of its biggest gymnast in program historical past. As a result of Sanne is 31 years outdated, it furthered the trigger that there’s nothing stopping growing old veterans from enjoying a number one position within the sport and was a victory for gymnastics even outdoors the Dutch program.

However for the Netherlands, this particular gold medal was completely very important as a result of it furthered the legacy of their most seen and excessive profile gymnast. Sanne is the poster baby of the Dutch program. She is their most recognizable title, their largest advertising instrument and gives a growth in media publicity together with attracting curiosity from informal followers.

Sanne is the uncommon instance the place what is sweet for a single gymnast is paradoxically good for each gymnast in all the program. Her success promotes all the program as a complete. On the 2023 European Championships, the Dutch obtained precisely that with Sanne Wevers.

Eythora Thorsdottir

The contributions of Naomi Visser and Eythora Thorsdottir

For a program like Dutch girls’s gymnastics, having a profitable and longtime veteran like Sanne Wevers is a good asset for this system. However when growing old veterans dominate a program that isn’t being managed accurately, their success turns into a double edged sword. When packages undergo stagnation and are struggling to develop a brand new technology of robust juniors, growing old veterans are inevitably tasked with being compelled to hold the workload within the absence of younger expertise.

However by this level this system is merely masking its issues and is prioritizing short-term success whereas betting towards its personal future. Which is why most examples of iconic packages in girls’s gymnastics that suffered a fall from grace had one pattern in widespread. Of their final years of success their strongest outcomes got here from gymnasts who had been thought of growing old veterans.

The Dutch program is having success from an growing old veteran like Sanne Wevers, however is doing so with none of the warning indicators that her success is coming on the direct price of creating youthful expertise. Eythora Thorsdottir (sixth place) and Naomi Visser (Seventh-Place) each had robust leads to the All-Round standings. At 21 years outdated Visser remains to be on the younger aspect of the game, whereas 24 12 months outdated Thorsdottir is in a center technology the place she will be able to’t be thought of one of many younger weapons, however isn’t sufficiently old to be lumped into the identical class because the oldest tier of gymnasts. All whereas the beforehand talked about 31 12 months outdated Sanne Wevers received a medal.

This multi-generational strategy highlights a program the place every part is in good concord. This system is retaining the providers of a useful Sanne Wevers, with out feeling like it’s betting towards its personal future so as to help her. Having its high gymnasts characterize three completely different generations displays a program that may take any particular gymnast, and get one of the best out of her no matter which stage of her profession she presently is in. The Dutch program presently appears like a nicely oiled machine the place the cylinders will preserve firing as we speak, tomorrow, and lengthy after that. As in the event that they had been driving a automotive and by no means neglecting to maintain the gasoline tank full.

From L to R: Naomi Visser, Vera van Pol, Eythora Thorsdottir, Sanna Veerman, and Sanne Wevers

Successful a Group Medal

If Dutch gymnastics provides the looks of a program the place it’s having success on all fronts and has the traits of a program the place its lineup is high-quality, their medal within the group competitors on the 2023 European Championships validates stated notion. Such a medal would solely be doable if the Dutch had been presently on the high of their recreation. In an period the place Italian and British gymnastics are the dominant European powers, everybody else is barely in a position to sulk of their unluckiness of not being blessed with the presence of an unstoppable duo of twins.

Mixed with the ban on Russian athletes, Europe was left within the state the place the 2 packages who would battle for gold and silver was a forgone conclusion, whereas the remainder of the sector was going to battle one another for the final remaining medal within the group competitors. In the long run it wasn’t actually shut.

Sure, the British beat the Italians by a snug margin, after which the Italians beat the Dutch by a snug margin. However when it got here to third place the Dutch had a margin of victory that was larger than the subsequent 4 groups mixed. The success of Visser, Thorsdottir, and Wevers within the particular person occasions was a sign that the Dutch lineup was robust. However a couple of days beforehand the outcomes of the Group Competitors had already confirmed that past all doubt. Which begs the query if the 2023 European Championships lineup was solely the tip of the iceberg, and the Dutch program was doing as glorious of a job in creating its “B-Group” because the A-Group lineup it had despatched to Antalya-2023.

From L to R: Manila Esposito, Sanne Wevers, and Zsofia Kovacs

However there may be one other dynamic at play.

At 17.5 million individuals the Netherlands are a considerably smaller nation than Italy (59 million) Nice Britain (67 million), France (67 million), and Germany (83 million). Girls’s gymnastics is a sport the place having a big inhabitants base is vital to reaching main success. On the Group-1 degree the Netherlands are the smallest nation to qualify to Group Finals on a number of events since Belarus did so through the 1993-1996 Olympic quad. However this was an period the place ex-Communist athletes from Jap Europe had been nonetheless competing in massive numbers and the transition to the game being dominated by massive nations was solely simply starting.

For the Dutch program, the success they’ve had is commendable given their small dimension. However they’re additionally a program the place each profitable competitors is vital. Giant nations can undergo a foul Olympic cycle, however recuperate shortly from their errors. Packages representing smaller nations are rather more weak to a lack of momentum as a result of they’ve fewer assets to construct up a big pool of depth.

Naomi Visser

If the Netherlands had been the smallest nation to qualify to a number of Group Finals since 1996, the second smallest nation was Romania. No nation realized this lesson extra painfully than the historic Romanian program who after being one of many high powers in girls’s gymnastics for 40 years, suffered a rut within the aftermath of the 2012 Olympics and has struggled to get out of it ever since.

Small, profitable packages just like the Netherlands stay and die from competitors to competitors. Fueling their final profitable competitors into the subsequent, underneath a “survive and advance” mentality as if this had been a postseason elimination-tournament. Their future turns into unsure if that cycle of success ever will get damaged. For the Netherlands, success isn’t a luxurious, however a necessity. What the Dutch completed on the 2023 European Championships has ensured that this program is right here to remain and can stay aggressive in the long run.

Developing quietly behind the British and the Italians who appeared to have all of the flash and massive title icons, the bronze medal within the group competitors was an announcement win that the Dutch are right here to remain.

Sanne Wevers (L) and Naomi Visser (R)

The rise of Naomi Visser

To conclude this text, I wish to discuss Naomi Visser. From the second Sanne Wevers received a gold medal on the 2016 Olympics, the urgent query grew to become “what comes subsequent?” No legend can compete without end and if Dutch gymnastics needed to proceed its rise, it wanted to determine how a program can win an Olympic gold medal with out letting that be the climax of their program identification.

It was by no means a query of changing Sanne Wevers, however bringing the Dutch program to some extent the place it may proceed to thrive even when Sanne was not round to help it. Wevers is a legend in Dutch gymnastics historical past, however for the subsequent technology of gymnasts it would all the time be a difficult activity being the one anticipated to fill the footwear of a legend. However Naomi Visser is likely to be the gymnast who’s able to doing it.

I’ve so many optimistic issues to say about Naomi that to save lots of on the phrase rely I ended up making a completely separate article devoted completely to her. There are just too many good issues to say about Visser. However what’s necessary is the next:

Naomi Visser

Naomi’s stat strains are absurd. Within the final three main competitions on the European Championships and World Championships degree, she has appeared in 60% of the All-Round and Equipment Finals. She has competed All-Round in her final eight main competitions and made All-Round Finals on all eight events. The final time she failed to succeed in the top-10 of the All-Round standings in both finals or through the {qualifications} stage was 2019.

Naomi is arguably one of the best gymnast within the sport who has not but received a medal in a significant particular person occasion on the European Championships, World Championships, or Olympics. However as an athlete, she’s as more likely to qualify into the top-10 as any of the common medal contenders. Visser is on the level the place it’s now honest to explain her as one of many main figures within the sport. She is a gymnast who will make sure the Netherlands are nicely represented within the particular person occasions even when Sanne is not round.

Naomi Visser is likely one of the Netherlands most beneficial belongings and the 2023 European Championships was the competitors that has lastly put her over the sting. The potential of this gymnast can now not be denied. With a 4th place end on ground that is so far the closest Naomi has come to a medal in a significant, particular person occasion. For the third consecutive time she certified to three of 5 particular person occasions in a significant competitors.

Naomi Visser

Doing that when could be dismissed as a fluke and doing it twice is a sample, however doing that thrice in a row makes her one of the profitable gymnasts within the sport. All whereas Naomi is 21 years outdated which is the perfect age for a gymnast to witness her profession out of the blue skyrocket. Naomi Visser’s private profile has a lot in widespread with that of Angelina Melnikova, Rebeca Andrade, Alice Kinsella, Martina Maggio, Jordan Chiles, Coline Devillard, Zsofia Kovacs, and Shilese Jones proper earlier than their careers took off.

If ever there was a second the place Naomi Visser’s profession crossed a threshold and gymnastics can not ignore her, however now should respect her, the 2023 European Championships was it.

In a single competitors the Dutch program was in a position to embolden the legacy of their biggest gymnast of all time, received a medal within the group competitors, and established that they’ve proficient gymnasts who carry a dominating presence into the person occasions. All whereas doing it with a multi-generational lineup that ensures their success is coming in a method that might be sustainable long run.

The Dutch program had the proper competitors on the 2023 European Championships. A part of that perfection is placing themselves ready the place the Netherlands look poised to do it once more in 2024 and even 2028.

Hyperlink to: Naomi Visser article

From L to R: Naomi Visser, Vera van Pol, Eythora Thorsdottir, Sanna Veerman, and Sanne Wevers

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