Team China are the Olympic Gold medallists, but the USA are the world champions, while Russia have a lot to prove this time round. As always, the major Olympic superpowers will challenge for medals. The Women’s Team Final takes place on 31st of July at 16:30 (GMT).
London Olympics preview: Women’s Gymnastics Artistic
The USA probably have the strongest team but with some of their biggest names retiring, notably the darling of American gymnastics Shawn Johnson (knee injury), who won four gold medals in Beijing, and other Olympians struggling for form – Nastia Liukin won five medals in China but won’t be travelling this time round due to a timely slump in form at the US trials.
Jordyn Wieber on the uneven bars
That leaves the way open for a new generation of bright young things in Jordyn Wieber, Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Kyla Ross who, at only 15 years of age is the youngest member of the team. The Chinese have simply no end to the array of talented athletes that their system is churning out with Yao Jinnan currently the strongest all-rounder on the Chinese team. Sui Lu is very strong on the balance beam and the floor exercise.
China’s Yao Jinnan
The home team will also look to muscle in on the action and for Great Britain three-time world champion Beth Tweddle represents the host nation’s best shot at a gymnastic medal, it will most certainly be her last chance, having come back from knee surgery in April.
Sandra Izbasa of Romania
The Eastern block countries will as always field competitive individuals with Olympic champion and three-time European champion Sandra Izbasa of Romania a favourite for the gold in the floor exercise but a contender also on the balance beam and vault and as a strong all-rounder. Catalina Ponor, also of Romania, will be in the hunt for a medal on the balance beam after coming out of retirement to challenge for a medal.
Russia’s Aliya Mustafia
Russia were pushed off the podium, so-to-speak, in Beijing and this time the proud nation that has always been strong in gymnastics has a lot to prove. Aliya Mustafia is a very strong all-rounder and will be there or thereabouts. From outside the usual powerhouses, Australian Laren Mitchel is worth watching on the balance beam. Not only is she technically capable but she has an artistic style that is a little different.
By Hugo Mc Cafferty
Tagged with: #STAR STYLE
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