Korean rhythmic gymnast Son Yeon-jae was off to a great start in the Olympics, finishing fourth out of 24 competitors with a score of 55.900 in the qualification round on Thursday at Wembley Arena in London. Son performed her hoop and ball routines on Thursday.
The top 10 gymnasts in four routines in the qualification round will advance to the final. If she gets into the top 10 after her club and ribbon programs on Friday, Son will become the first Korean rhythmic gymnast to qualify for the Olympic final.
The top 10 gymnasts then start over in the final, as their qualification scores are not counted, and Son, who is ranked No. 10 in the world, may even be able to win a medal.
This is the fourth time that a Korean rhythmic gymnast reached the Olympics after 1988, 1992, and 2008. Shin Soo-ji’s 12th place finish in Beijing was the best result by a Korean so far. Son has been training with Russian gymnasts in Novogorsk, Russia since early last year.
Russian up-and-coming gymnast Daria Dmitrieva is at the top after the first day with a combined score of 57.800, having amassed 29.000 points in hoop and 28.800 in ball. Reigning Olympic champion Yevgeniya Kanayeva made a mistake in her first hoop routine, but thanks to her artistry and high difficulty tariff, she still managed to get 28.100 points. She recovered spectacularly in her second ball routine, winning 29.525 points and with a combined score of 57.625 points is currently a close second.
The second day of the qualification round kicks off at 8 p.m. on Friday (Korean time).