Tomorrow is the day, the long awaited Women’s Team Final! Twelve countries qualified into the Olympics and now eight will move on to compete in the finals. Four of these countries will fight to be on the podium. The other four fought to get in the finals and are ecstatic for the opportunity to compete.
First, the details.
- You can watch the team finals live on NBCOlympics.com at 11:30 EST or on Prime Time NBC tomorrow night.
- Each team brings five gymnasts and puts up three gymnasts on each event. All three scores from each event count and will be added up to determine the final score.
- The top two scoring teams start on vault, the third and fourth on bars, fifth and sixth on beam and seventh and eighth on floor, allowing you to most easily compare.
Now the Qualifiers.
The USA had a strong performance in the qualifying round and qualified in first with a 181.863. They scored 1.4 higher than the second place team. In the world of gymnastics, that is a strong lead. They had a wonderful competition and really stood out on vault, their strongest event. There is room however for an even stronger performance as they had some minor mistakes on every event.
Russia qualified in second with a 180.429. They had a great day. Their bars is just a beautiful thing to watch and they did not disappoint! Their biggest area for improvement is Aliya Mustafina who, if rumors are true, will be competing her amanar. She has yet to compete this or even show it in training since tearing her ACL on the vault last year. She also had a number of errors in her beam routine that could be cleaned up. Russia is a fierce competitor with beautiful gymnastics and they will come on strong. Don’t let the gap in qualifications fool you. They can challenge the USA.
China qualified in third with a 176.637. China also had a shining bars performance, but had some problems on beam and floor. They also don’t have the difficulty on vault to keep up. They can definitely do better than they did, but it is unlikely that they can challenge for the gold.
Romania qualified in fourth with a 176.264. Romania definitely did not have their best day. A team that is known for decades for their consistent, hit performances had a number or missed routines. Mostly, because their star Larisa Iordache has been battling an injury this week and did not perform to her usual standard. Catalina Ponor also had very uncharacteristic mistakes. Neither Larisa nor Sandra Izbasa threw the more difficult vaults they have been training. It is unlikely that Romania will have another dismal performance. They are competitors and champions with decades of history of coming through in Olympic Finals. With a few more days or recovery for Larisa, a regular day of performance for Catalina, and all the vault difficulty being thrown, Romania will be right there in the battle for the gold.
The other four teams six or more points behind Romania – Britain, Japan, Italy and Canada. But all of them fought hard to make it to team finals and are ecstatic for the chance to compete in the Team Finals. None more so than Britain, who will have the opportunity to bring down the house in their home crowd.
Though Romania and Russia can bring on the heat, this really is the USA’s to loose. It should be a great team finals, with a lot of incredible gymnastics!