4.40 p.m. sees Subdivision 4, with Germany, China and Russia competing with a mixed group of individual athletes.
Oksana Chusovitina (GER) – The only athlete who’s competed for 3 different countries (Soviet Union, Uzbekistan & Germany), the only gymnast for whom this will be her record sixth Olympics. Oksana holds the record for the most world medals on a single event (9 medals all on Vault). She has been competing at an elite international level for 22 years – since before most of her competitors were born. She is also only the 4th female to compete in elite gymnastics after giving birth. She is AMAZING. She won Silver in Beijing, and it would be wonderful to see her medal in London also.
Watch out for her in: Women’s Team Final, Women’s Vault
Huang Qiushuang (CHN) – Huang didn’t have her best competition last year at Worlds, but still came 5th All-Around and took home a Bronze medal on Uneven Bars. In fact this quadrennium the Chinese women’s team haven’t looked nearly as dominant as they did before Beijing. But word is that Huang has upped her difficulty – training an Amanar vault which is looking good that could put her back into medal contention.
watch out for her in: Women’s Team Final, Women’s All-Around, Women’s Uneven Bars
Yao Jinnan (CHN) – Overshadowed by the Komova/Wieber controversy, this teeny Chinese gymnast didn’t get much attention despite the fact that had she not fallen from the Balance Beam, she had the potential to beat both Wieber and Komova in the All-Around. In fact, she went on to win a Silver on Balance Beam a few days later. She’s been dominant in the World Cup circuit in 2011/12 winning Golds in several events.
Watch out for her in: Women’s Team Final, Women’s All-Around, Women’s Balance Beam, Women’s Floor
Sui Lu (CHN) – A gymnast that didn’t make the cut for Beijing, seems to be shining now. Her performance in Tokyo’s event finals was superb and delightful. She won a very deserved Gold on Balance Beam, and a Silver on Floor. One of China’s specialists, she will be a pleasure to watch in London.
Watch out for her in: Women’s Team Final, Women’s Balance Beam, Women’s Floor
The Russian Women’s Team – Gold medallists in 2010, Silver medallists in 2011, this new crop of gymnasts has been bringing Russia back onto the Gymnastics podium. Though they’ve had some injuries, the team is much deeper than it was last time, and I suspect that despite not having the best of showing in events this year a great deal of work has been going on behind closed doors.
Aliya Mustafina – The 2010 World Champion who made it to every single final. Sadly, she tore her ACL during finals at the European Championships last Spring and was unable to defend her title in Tokyo. She hasn’t looked quite the same since but she has always seemed a very stubborn and determined gymnast – not too unlike Svetlana Khorkina in character!
Watch out for her in: Women’s Team Final, Women’s All-Around, Women’s Uneven Bars, Women’s Balance Beam, Women’s Floor
Ksenia Afanasyeva – the current World Champion on Floor, Ksenia was the surprise world champion as she had been a reserve and only competed due to the Russian coaches pulling out her teammate Viktoria Komova from the final and a last minute injury in the warm gym to Italian Vanessa Ferrari. Her artistry and clean execution won her the Gold having made many finals over the years but never seeming to perform her best to be on that medal podium. Her second Olympics she’ll be looking for an individual as well as a team medal.
Watch out for her in: Women’s Team Final, Women’s Floor, Women’s Balance Beam
Viktoria Komova – A favourite to become World Champion, she looked exhausted in Tokyo having been injured earlier in the year. She was devastated when she lost to Jordyn Wieber in Tokyo, but gained Gold on her strongest piece – Uneven Bars making her the current World and European Champion on that event.
Watch out for her in: Women’s Team Final, Women’s All-Around, Women’s Uneven Bars, Women’s Balance Beam
Anastasia Grishina – a new Senior this year, she won Silver behind Komova at the European Championships this year. However, I noticed she only performed one event at the Russia Cup last month – so I’m not sure what she’ll be capable of in London.
watch out for her in: Women’s Team Final, (possibly) Women’s Uneven Bars, Women’s Floor and (possibly) Women’s Vault