I was on the edge of my seat throughout the entire Team Final. Until the 4th rotation, that is, when it became evident that the USA was going to earn the gold no matter what. The Fab Five went 12-for-12 in and ended up winning by 5 points! Even though McKayla Maroney only competed on vault, her Amanar was absolutely spectacular and she was awarded a 9.733 E score. It was out of this world, and I literally can’t imagine it being done better. Even one of the judges’ jaw dropped when she landed!
McKayla Maroney (USA), Team Final Vault
Jordyn Wieber put her All Around disappointment aside and showed her mettle by being a true team player, competing solidly on vault, bars and floor. Kyla Ross was steady and gorgeous on bars and beam, Gabby Douglas performed so well that she managed to score a total of 61.465 which could be good enough for gold in the All Around on Thursday, and Aly Raisman was a rock and ended the meet with a fantastic floor routine.
Alexandra Raisman (USA), 2012 Olympic Games, Floor Exercise Apparatus Final
The Canadians must have felt like they won the gold too. After placing 11th at the 2011 World Championships and having to compete at the Test Event to earn a team spot to the Olympics, they squeaked into Team Finals in the 8th and final position. Ellie Black, Victoria Moors, Dominique Pegg, Brittany Rogers and Kristina Vaculik all brought their A game and went 12-for-12 like the Americans. The highlight for me was Moors’s stellar floor routine. It’s a real shame that she will not be showcasing it once again in floor finals. Canada ended up in 5th, the best they could realistically hope for with powerhouses USA, Russia, Romania and China in front.
Victoria Moors (CAN), Team Finals Floor (gorgeous routine!)
Russia showed that they deserve to be back in the medals, despite costly errors on floor from Anastasia Grishina and Ksenia Afanasyeva, and no doubt Viktoria Komova and Aliya Mustafina will come out swinging in the All Around. Romania hasn’t left the Olympic podium since Nadia Comaneci first mounted it in 1976. Catalina Ponor was back to usual self on beam today, and Sandra Izbasa performed her fab floor that could be worthy of a floor medal in a few days. It was great to see 6 different team flags raised in the North Greenwich Arena: China, Japan and Great Britain for the men, and USA, Russia and Romania for the women.
The next two rounds of competition will feature the gymnasts who qualified to the All Around. My picks? Watch for King Kohei to once again be crowned with gold. The media may be giving him flack for not showing the same level of perfection we have come to expect, but even with his funky pommel horse dismount in the Team Final he managed to earn a 92.048, a score that would have put him atop the prelim leader board by almost a point. After winning 3 consecutive Worlds by massive margins, it would be lamentable to imagine anything otherwise for these Olympic Games. On the women’s side, it seems there will be a tough battle between the top 4 qualifiers: Komova, Raisman, Douglas and Mustafina. Part of me wants to go out on a limb and predict the feisty Mustafina as the winner, even though I’ve been wanting Komova to win this for the past three years. Prior to the Olympics, it seemed as though Larisa Iordache would factor in a bit more, but between the plantar fasciitis and the judges coming down hard on bars, it’s beginning to look less and less likely. But if there’s one thing we’ve learned in all this, it’s never count out the Romanians!