Koko Tsurumi (JPN) – I fear she may have peaked in 2009, but I’d love to see Koko shine in London. It’s been great to see the Japanese women improving as the Japanese men have become so dominant in the sport of gymnastics.
Watch out for her in: (if all goes really well for her) Women’s Team Final, Women’s All-Around and Women’s Uneven Bars
Romanian Women’s Team – First of all, we have the return of 2 fantastic Olympic gymnasts who were looking excellent at the European Championships. Then we have the return of their legendary Coach, Octavian Belu. And then the newest Senior on the team who could challenge for the All-Around crown.
Catalina Ponor – A three time Olympic Champion in 2004, she returned to Worlds in 2011 with very little training and still looked like she had all her power. Now we’ve been seeing that power more polished and she has won a fair few titles this year already. A fabulous new floor routine, and dominant on Balance Beam (she’s the current European Champion). This girl wants to bring more bling back to Romania from London.
watch out for her in: Women’s Team Finals, Women’s Floor, Women’s Balance Beam
Sandra Izbasa – Sandra was the only Romanian to bring back an individual medal in 2008 having performed a stunning routine taking Gold away from Shawn Johnson in the last performance of the floor final. She’s since been injured, but under great coaching she has become a superb Vault specialist. Though I suspect Ponor and Iordache will keep her out of floor finals in London, I hope to see a routine from her in team finals.
watch out for her in: Women’s Team Finals, Women’s Vault
Larisa Iordache – She was too young to compete in Worlds last year (it’s annoying they’ve stopped letting 15 year olds compete the year before the Olympics) but her performances in international competitions in 2012 have gone from strength to strength. She beat teammate Catalina for the Floor title in Brussels, and came second to her on Balance Beam. She is a contender for the All-Around title too. I can’t wait to see how she does in London on the Olympic stage
watch out for her in: Women’s Team Final, Women’s All-Around, Women’s Balance Beam, Women’s Floor
Phan Thi Ha Thanh (VIE) – Phan was the first Vietnamese gymnast to bring home a World medal, earning a Bronze on Vault in Tokyo. Since then, more recognition for the sport in her country has meant a lot more support for her training. I would love to see her do well in London. And perhaps bring another medal home to Vietnam – because it’s always nice to see someone who is not Russian, American, Romanian or Chinese do well in women’s gymnastics!
Watch out for her in: Women’s Vault