The Canadians, already feeling slighted over the French finagling of the Olympic Men’s Water Polo Qualification Tournament, have been left out of the team synchronized swimming competition at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games despite being last year’s Pan Am Champions in the event.
This week, FINA announced the 8 teams and 24 duets that have qualified to compete in Rio, and Canada only made the list on the latter, not the former.
In the team competition, 5 spots are awarded based on the best team for each FINA-determined continent (Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe, Oceania) earning 1 spot, with the remaining 3 coming from the top finishers at March’s Olympic Games Qualification Tournament.
Much as they’ve done in the past, though, FINA opted to automatically give the Brazilians the spot from the Americas, despite only finishing 4th at the continental tournament at the Pan American Games (which was won by Canada). We saw the same system in 2012 give the British team the automatic European spot and forcing Russia to the last-chance Olympic Qualifying Tournament, despite being far-and-away the world’s dominant superpower in synchronized swimming.
In fact, this system in 2012 left two of the three team medalists from the London Games (Spain being the other) to rely on a last-chance qualification event. Spain didn’t qualify this year and thus won’t defend their bronze medal.
Canada, meanwhile, in 2016, despite proving the best team from the Americas region, placed only 4th in the Olympic Qualification Tournament, which left them out of the competition for that event to Rio, and left the Americas region without a viable medal contender.
Canada, along with 23 other nations, did however qualify to send a duet to the Olympics.
In the duet, just as in the team, Russia is a heavy favorite. Natalie Ischenko and Svetlana Romashina both return to defend their dominant duet performance from both the London Olympics and last year’s World Championships, pending the outcome of the IOC’s conversation to ban the entire Russian Olympic Federation.
London duet silver medalist Ona Carbonell Ballestero returns for the 2016 Games, but this time with a new partner Gemma Mengual Civil. Defending bronze medalists China enter a whole new duet.
Synchronized swimming will take place in the 2nd half of this year’s Olympics from August 14th-19th at the outdoor Maria Lenk Aquatic Centre.