Gabby Douglas has been known as the Flying Squirrel for her high flying antics on the bars. Undoubtedly the best bar worker the USA currently has in their arsenal, Gabby began to make her bid as a true All Around threat at the US National Championships back in June. She had shown a flash of brilliance earlier in the season in the American Cup but had not maintained that brilliance through the rest of the spring. It was in St. Louis that she challenged Jordyn Wieber for the National Title and almost won. Her next foray came at the Olympic Trials where she earned the only automatic spot of the USA team by scoring the highest All-Around total over two days. Even so, Gabby had never put together four hit routines in one night.
As we pondered the All Around gold possibilities, Blythe from The Gym Examiner said, “You only have to put it all together once. It just has to be on the right night.” That Gabby had the talent was never a question. But could she hold up under the intensity of the Olympic spotlight? Could she put it all together that one time, the night of the All Around finals?
In qualifications, it seemed that she would do it. She held it together, performing incredibly on vault, bars and beam. When it came to floor however, her old nerves crept in. Gabby had a major mistake on her second pass and literally bounded out of bounds. Doubt may have crept back in to others minds, but not into hers.
Gabby came out into team finals and gave the performance of her life. She cleanly hit every routine with nary a bobble. Her All-Around score was easily the highest that had yet been put up in the games. She did it! Four incredible hit routines in one night! She had put it all together!
Was it possible that she could do it back to back? Watching her cool, collected demeanor would say that it was. And as it turned out, Gabby put it all together twice. On the two nights of nights.
Gabby led from start to finish. Opening up with one of the best vaults she has done, she emphatically said that she meant business. She continued on throughout the night, hitting her high flying beam routine, sailing through her complex beam routine and tumbling her way to Olympic gold. It was a beautiful, incredible, performance. Scoring the highest All-Around score of the entire quad (four years between Olympics) Gabby truly won gold.
But it is not only the gold medal around her neck that earns her the newly donned Golden Gabby nickname. It is her golden personality. Gabby’s smile is impossible to resist. She has that bounce in her step, that spark in her eye that hint at her bubbly, positive personality. The only thing that comes more quickly than her brilliant smile is her infectious laugh.
Gabby has stolen our hearts with more than her dazzling performance. Her true grasp of the honor it is to represent her country oozes through every word. The responsibility and maturity she feels as a role model to the gymnasts – especially the African American gymnasts – she has inspired is beyond her years. And her playful personality warms our hearts. She will be a beloved gymnast for years to come.
Gabby Douglas, you were extraordinary. Thanks for making some incredible sacrifices to make your dreams – and ours- come true. You truly are a star.
The all-around gold medal is the most coveted individual gymnastics achievement. When people refer to the champion, they mean the all-around champion. This Olympic year has an EXCITING all-around competition in store! Most years in women’s gymnastics there is a battle between two, maybe three gymnasts for the gold medal. This year, that is not the case. This all-around final will have five gymnasts who could win the gold medal.
There are twenty- four gymnasts in all who qualified into the All-Around finals. Here are the top five who will be vying for the podium. Who will end up on top is anyone’s guess. Hold onto your hats ladies and gentlemen, this is going to be a wild ride!
Viktoria Komova (60.632/25.7 Qualification)
After losing the gold to Jordyn Wieber last year by the smallest of margins, Viktoria comes into these Olympics ready to do battle – and win. Her slight form hides the incredible power underneath. She dances like a ballerina, vaults with power and grace, swings bars like she was meant to live life in the trees and tumbles on the beam as if she was light as a feather.
Viktoria debuted her amanar for the first time in her senior career during qualifications. Adding that to her arsenal along with one of the most difficult, perfectly executed bar routines in the world right now gave her the edge she needed to qualify in first. Her beam and floor routines are both exquisite, but not very consistent. She tends to either hit or miss on beam and is often plagued with low landings on floor. She will have to bring her best to keep her place at the top of the podium.
Alexandra Raisman (60.391/25.3 Qualification)
Aly is known to be one of the most calm, consistent competitors there is. Long overshadowed by higher scoring teammates, Aly shocked the world and herself by qualifying in as the top American. She comes in with the highest difficulty and most consistency on vault, beam and floor. However, her lower difficulty on bars, along with her poor form on this even is what keeps her from the top of the podium. She was fourth at last years world championships with a horrible mistake on bars.
Aly did the best vault of her career in qualifications, cleaning up her form issues and landing with just a small hop. She did the best bars routine she has ever done by far during podium training, seemingly to finally overcome her form breaks. She is generally rock solid on beam, and has scored the highest floor scores in both the team and qualifications. Overall, Aly does not have high enough difficulty to win gold without mistakes from both Gabby and Viktoria. But her rock solid, consistent performances make her a gymnast you should not count out. After all, as we have seen, anything can happen in the pressure of the Olympic spotlight.
Gabrielle Douglas, USA (60.265/25.3 Qualification)
Gabrielle, or Gabby, has been a rising star this year. Last year, she was known for her high flying bar routine, but her mental game was just not strong enough for her to be an all-around threat. This all changed when she came roaring out of the gate as an exhibitionist at the AT&T American cup. She unofficially (her scores did not count as an alternate) ran away with the gold. Since then, Gabby has been inching away at Jordyn Wieber’s lead in every meet until she finally overtook her by .1 at the Olympic Trials.
Gabby comes in with one of the highest potential start values of the group. She has the physical ability to blow away the competition. What remains to be seen is if she can continue improving her mental game and hit the routines when they count. She qualified in third because of a large error on floor. However, she hit four for four during team finals, and her All-Around score there would have easily won the title. If everyone brings out their best and they all hit, Gabby most likely wins. She will have to keep control of her nerves to stand on top of the podium.
Aliya Mustafina RUS (59.966/24.7 Qualification)
In 2010, Aliya was a star. In fact, it seemed she was on her way to becoming one of the gymnastics greats. Had we ever seen someone who could vault with the power and amplitude she attained and dance like a prima ballerina on floor? Someone who’s beautiful swing on bars was only outdone by her lightness and sureness on beam. Aliya won the all-around. She led the Russian team to gold. She qualified in EVERY event finals and placed on the podium in all but beam, where she had her only mistake of the entire competition. She looked unstoppable.
Unfortunately, an injury has put a serious roadblock in her path to glory. In 2011, she tore her ACL at the European Championships while performing her famous amanar. Her recovery has been difficult. She has grown and is still not used to her new body. But she has continued to train hard.
Aliya has yet to show the level of gymnastics and performance she attained in 2010 this year. She is not competing with the level of difficulty she formerly attained. But Aliya has a competitive drive, a fierceness and focus on the competition floor like few others. She has that undefinable quality and mental drive that propels her to the front. Her team loss will only drive her more. I would not be surprised at all if she ends up on the podium.
Larisa Iordache (57.8/24 Qualification)
Larisa’s junior showings made her highly anticipated as the Romanian all-around contender at the Olympics. She has a charming floor routine, one of the most difficult beam routines being performed at the Olympics, a solid vault and a very decent bar routine. Her achilles heel at these Olympics has in fact been her heel. She has plantar faciitis in her left heel and has not been able to put in a great deal of training over the past week.
This has definitely shown in bother her qualification and team performances. She has not been on her game. Hopefully the additional days of rest and training will allow her to continue on the trajectory she has been on her entire career – a place on the Olympic All-Around podium.
In addition, Deng Linlin from China qualified into the top group. This group will all compete together, starting on vault. It should be noted that Larissa did not qualify in this group and will start on bars. Once again, we all want these women to go out and have incredible, hit competitions!
On NBC Prime Time
Men’s and Women’s Qualifications, Team Finals, All-Around Final and Event Finals will all be on NBC Prime Time. Tune in every evening starting with Men’s Qualifications on Saturday the 28th and each evening after through Thursday the 2nd for the Women’s All-Around Finals. Women’s events will be Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Then we pick back up next Sunday the 5th-Tuesday the 7th for Event Finals.
This year NBC will be live streaming every Olympic competition on NBCOlympics.com if you have a qualified cable subscription. It is VERY important to verify your sign in before things get started! Do that here.
Not only can you watch it live, you can choose which event stream to watch and catch every routine you want to see! For instance, follow the USA from event to event and never miss a routine. Or just watch beam. Of course, you can watch the main feed as well. Or you can do what I will probably do. Get all feeds going and channel hop.
- Prelims 9:45am EST on Sunday
- Team Finals 11:30am EST on Tuesday
- All-Around Finals 11:30am EST on Thursday
- Prelims 10:25am EST on Saturday
- Team Finals 11:30am EST on Monday
- All-Around Finals 11:30am EST on Wednesday
Beam. The most precarious event in womens gymnastics always makes for an uncertain finals prediction. The top gymnasts could as easily not make the finals with a fall in prelims as win the event. However, there are some delightful beam routines too look forward to and hopefully we will see them all in the finals.
Larisa Iordache (ROU) 15.95/6.8
Larisa has one of the most difficult beam routines in the world, and as such has posted the highest beam score this year. She is a clear favorite and as all is normal on the Romanian front once again, she rarely misses. She will be hard to beat and is very likely to end up on the podium.
Jordyn Wieber (USA) 15.7/6.4 Lauren Mitchell (AUS) 15.7/6,5, Catalina Ponor (ROU) 15.7/6.5
Of the three, Catalina is the most likely to score this high again. Catalina dominates the beam and is unlikely to make a mistake in prelims or the finals. She is one of the most beautiful beam workers, working with an aggressive style that somehow looks like ballet at the same time. She is a definite contender for the gold.
Jordyn Wieber has yet to hit all her connections in her routine. Her execution is phenomenal, however it is likely that her difficulty will be lower at the games. Still, her steady aggressive style is wonderful to watch. She is very steady on the beam, and it is likely that she will make the finals. Whether or not she is able to keep up with others of higher difficulty remains to be seen.
Lauren has a style on beam and floor that is all her own. She stands out for her original elements that make up her very difficult routine. Lauren has been inconsistent in hitting this routine. If she makes the finals, she will definitely challenge for the podium.
Kyla Ross (USA) 15.5/6.2 or Aly Raisman (USA) 15.45/6.4
Kyla has a beautiful, light clean style on beam. Her movement is not balletic, but it is executed perfectly and is beautiful to watch. However, she has only hit this high of a score one time as she doesn’t always hit her combinations. If she doesn’t hit all her connections, Aly Raisman will likely outscore her. Due to the two per country rule, only one of the two can make it in the finals.
Aly Raisman is the USA Rock. She is does a higher difficulty routine with nary a wobble. Aly is likely to hit and to be consistent. However, she may have a hard time beating out some of the others with higher difficulty and execution. But if they fall, Aly will be right there. Waiting to take advantage.
Sui Lu (CHN) Reigning World Champion 15.35 and Ashleigh Brennan (AUS) 15.35
Sui Lui has one of the most elegant, beautiful beam routines with loads of difficulty. She floats through the air as she tumbles across the beam, but sometimes she floats right off. If she hits she will contend for the podium. If she will hit is anyones guess.
Ashleigh Brennan is another strong Australian beam worker. She is unlikely to contend for the podium but just might make the final.
Viktoria Komova (RUS) 15.325
Viktoria gives you a ballet on the beam. Perfect form, exquisitely pointed toes, everything done with a lightness and air of ease. But there have been few major competitions in the last year where she hasn’t fallen on beam at some point. If she makes her connections and stays on the beam, she could easily challenge for gold.
Yao Jinnan (CHN), Aliya Mustafina (RUS), Ana Grishina (RUS) are also ones that you should not count out of making it into beam finals.