© John Cheng

TOKYO, August 6, 2021 – For the first time under the current qualification system, the U.S. was represented by two athletes in the rhythmic gymnastics individual all-around qualification at an Olympic Games Friday at Ariake Gymnastics Centre. Evita Griskenas of Orland Park, Ill., and Laura Zeng of Libertyville, Ill., finished 12th and 13th, respectively. The pair narrowly missed Saturday’s final but were named the second and third reserves for the competition after the top ten gymnasts advanced to the final.

Griskenas posted a 23.675 on hoop, 23.400 on ball, 23.850 on clubs and 20.775 on ribbon for a combined 91.700. Zeng, in her second Olympic Games, earned a 91.400 with a 22.000 on hoop, 23.700 on ball, 24.700 on clubs and 21.000 on ribbon.

Dina Averina of the Russian Olympic Committee paced the field with a 106.300, posting top scores on hoop (27.625) and clubs (28.275). Her sister Arina notched the high score on ribbon with a 23.600. Linoy Ashram of Israel led the way on ball with a 28.250.

Group qualification will kick off Friday at 9 p.m. ET. U.S. team members Isabelle Connor of Manhattan Beach, Calif., Camilla Feeley of Wheeling, Ill., Lili Mizuno of Northbrook, Ill., Elizaveta Pletneva of Wheeling, Ill., and Nicole Sladkov, Vernon Hills, Ill., will represent the U.S. with the top eight teams advancing to Saturday’s final.