I'm kind of gutted Phelps is on track to smash Latynina's record though he is of course a phenomenal athlete. Fun fact- Larisa Latynina, former artistic gymnast for the Soviet Union, competed in the 1958 World Championships and won 5 out of 6 events...while pregnant!
The USA artistic gymnastic teams have been named after Trials at the weekend. Definitely one of the most popular spectator sports, USA's teams are especially interesting because they are so strong and have such depth of talent. The women's team have higher hopes of gold than the men, who will be challenged fiercely by Japan in particular. The WAG team are on track for gold, barring major catastrophe. Crucially they have 4 gymnasts competing an extremely difficult and valuable vault, (3 up, 3 count in team finals) China has one, Russia currently have none but likely to throw two messy ones, Romania unknown. They also have a huge chance of their two all-around competitors medalling due to their enormous difficulty, and are definite to take a gold in one apparatus- vault. The other three apparatus are much less certain, but another medal or two is certainly possible there.
Trials were not without drama, returning Olympian Alicia Sacramone failed to even make alternate as she only competed two events, ones on which USA needed no help although she had really good routines with no mistakes. Nastia Liukin, the 2008 AA champion, also failed but that was not suprising as she has been falling and having huge errors on bars all year, her 'ticket to London'. Bridget Sloan, another returnee was injured in warm-ups on the first day and did not compete. Chellsie Memmel did not advance to Trials or even Nationals, extremely controversially as Liukin did after abysmal performances. Unlike Liukin, Memmel and Sacramone have had extremely dissapointing previous Olympic experiences.The gymnast who finished fourth all-around, Elizabeth Price, did not make the team as other gymnasts who finished lower than her add more tenths than her on her events in a team situation. Rebecca Bross, a lock for this team in 2010, fell three times on bars and had huge errors. She blew her kneecap last year and had a difficult recovery but was consistently nailing her bars. Scoring was all over the place, top name gymnasts were gifted scores well above what they can expect in London. This year the team has been cut to 5, which is a disaster for USA as they are so deep, but not so much for other countries. This is the second cut in recent quads, it was 7 in 1996- hence the Mag 7. Numerous injuries this year, the open-ended scoring system places huge pressure to increase difficulty, at the cost of ACL's and other serious injuries. Russia are down one, China one, France and Canada two and Belgium one. And there is still nearly a month left, including a very intensive training camp for the USA teams which traditionally sees more than one injury. McKayla Maroney, the vault EF gold certainty, has already beaten the odds, she suffered concussion less than three weeks ago and lost a whole week of training.
The women's team is: Jordyn Wieber, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross and McKayla Maroney. Alt: Anna Li, Sarah Finnegan, Elizabeth Price.
The men's team is: Danell Lleyva, John Orozco, Sam Mikulak, Jake Dalton and Jonathan Horton. Alt: Chris Brooks, Steven Legendre and Alex Naddour.
In a sport where returning Olympians are still quite uncommon to find, and those who have competed/will compete in 3 Olympics are even rarer and can be counted on one hand (5), Oksana Chusovitina of Germany will compete in her SIXTH Olympics. At the age of 37 she still shows great power and form and won another medal on the world stage last year, and a Europeans medal this year, both on the vault- the most wearing apparatus by far. She began competing as a senior elite in 1988, eight years before most of the girls she is up against were even born. She competed for the Soviet Union, Uzbekistan after the break-up and now Germany, where she moved to in order to access better treatment for her son who had cancer but is now fully recovered. She has said she wants to return to coaching the Uzbek team after this Olympics and therefore formally retire, but she said that after Beijing too! Beth tweddle, a lock for the British team who will be named tomorrow, will compete in her third Olympics. The others were Svetlana Khorkina of Russia- who is among the very few to be known outside of the gymnastics world, (1996, 2000 and 2004) Dominique Dawes of USA (1992, 1996 and 2000), Daiane Dos Santos of Brazil (2004, 2008 and 2012) and Svetlana Boguinskaya of Soviet Union/Belarus (1988, 1992 and 1996). All of whom noticeably deteriorated by the time of their third Olympics. This is what makes Chuso so remarkable- we won't see the likes of her again! Tweddle only competes two out of four events so it's easier for her, but it is worth noting her bars routine is more difficult EVERY year and has one of the highest start values we will see in London. Daiane still competes extremely high difficulty on floor, but her form has suffered too- she's 29!
Last edited by Corruptedmorals; 03-07-2012 at 17:13.