Games of the XXX Olympiad
London (GBR), July 27 - August 12, 2012
Preview Artistic Gymnastics
LONDON (GBR), FIG Office, July 27, 2012: The North Greenwich Arena is set in the London 2012 colours, bright and pink, and ready for the Olympic Artistic Gymnastics competitions to get underway on Saturday.
On the Olympic programme are nine competition days for Men’s and Women’s Artistic Gymnastics including Qualification rounds, Team Finals, Individual All-around Finals and Apparatus Finals from July 28 to August 7.
The 98 female and 98 male gymnasts have completed two days of podium training on Wednesday and Thursday respectively in order to adjust to the venue’s specific conditions and are now focusing on the weekend’s preliminary rounds.
The line-up includes Iordan IOVTCHEV (BUL) and Oksana CHUSOVITINA (GER), who are both competing at their sixth Olympic Games, a record in all Gymnastics disciplines. IOVTCHEV has won four medals on Still Rings (Silver at Athens 2004 and Bronze at Sydney 2000) and Floor Exercise (Bronze at Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004). CHUSOVITINA won Gold in the Women's Team event at Barcelona 1992 competing for EUN (a unified team of former Soviet republics), and then Silver in Women's Vault 16 years later at Beijing 2008, representing Germany.
Another prominent name is on the list of competitors is Catalina PONOR (ROU), who holds the most Olympic Gold medals among the London 2012 Artistic Gymnastics participants. She won Gold in Women's Team, Floor Exercise and Balance Beam at Athens 2004.
Unlike at their home Games in 2008 in Beijing, where China won 14 medals including nine Golds, they face diverse and deep opposition this year.
In the Men’s Team event China are the favourites for the title, but the loss of the injured 2004 Olympic Pommel Horse Champion Teng Haibin represents a serious setback for the team. Having come second to China at the 2010 and 2011 World Championships, Japan are eyeing top spot on the podium in London.
In the Men’s Individual All-around Kohei UCHIMURA (JPN), the All-around Silver medallist at Beijing 2008, is the leading contender in London. UCHIMURA is the only male Artistic gymnast to win three World All-around titles, and the first Artistic gymnast to win three consecutive World All-around titles (2009-11).
Other key All-around contenders include the 2010 and 2011 World All-around silver medallist Philipp BOY (GER), 2010 World All-around Bronze medallist Jonathan HORTON (USA) and 2011 World All-around Bronze medallist Koji YAMAMURO (JPN).
Fabian HAMBUCHEN (GER), John OROZCO (USA) and Daniel PURVIS (GBR) are also strong candidates for All-around medals.
On Men’s apparatus, the Beijing 2008 Gold medallist on Floor, ZOU Kai (CHN), renews his rivalry with UCHIMURA, who defeated him to the 2011 World title.
On Pommel Horse, 2010 and 2011 World Champion Krisztian BERKI (HUN) is fancied to take Gold in his speciality discipline. Beijing 2008 Silver medallist Filip UDE (CRO) and Bronze medallist Louis SMITH (GBR) also compete.
Four-time World Champion CHEN Yibing's (CHN) 2008 Games title defence on Still Rings may be hampered by a minor meniscus injury he suffered earlier this month. His main rivals include 2011 World Silver medallist Arthur NABARRETTE ZANETTI (BRA), 2010 World Bronze medallist Matteo MORANDI (ITA) and 2011 World Bronze medallist YAMAMURO.
2011 World Champion on Vault YANG Hak-Seon (KOR) will seek to secure Korea's first Olympic Gymnastics Gold when he performs "the Yang", a triple-twisting front somersault named after him, as one of his two vaults.
The medal favourites on Parallel Bars include 2011 World Champion Danell LEYVA (USA), 2010 World Champion FENG Zhe (CHN) and 2011 World Silver medallist Vasileios TSOLAKIDIS (GRE).
On Horizontal Bar, Beijing 2008 Gold medallist ZOU, the only gymnast to win two apparatus titles at an Olympic Games, is again up against Bronze medallist HAMBUCHEN, along with 2009 and 2010 World Silver medallist Epke ZONDERLAND (NED).
China won the Team Gold at Beijing 2008 but will face a fight to retain their title in London, where they are among four stand-out contenders alongside USA, Russia and Romania.
Russia won the 2010 World Team title, USA defeated Russia to take the 2011 World Team title while Romania won the 2012 European team title.
Four gymnasts should figure strongly in the individual all-around competition: Jordyn WIEBER (USA), Victoria KOMOVA (RUS), Aliya MUSTAFINA (RUS) and Gabrielle DOUGLAS (USA).
At the 2011 World Championships, WIEBER defeated KOMOVA by 0.033 points to take the All-around Gold. MUSTAFINA, the 2010 World All-around Champion, has regained form after tearing her left anterior cruciate ligament last year. DOUGLAS outscored WIEBER by 0.100 points to win the USA Team trials for London.
On the Women’s apparatus, 2011 World Champion McKayla MARONEY (USA) is highly fancied for the Gold on Vault. Her top rivals include 37-year-old Oksana CHUSOVITINA (GER), the 2008 Olympic and 2011 World Silver medallist, and Thi Ha Thanh PHAN (VIE). At the 2011 World Championships, PHAN won Vietnam's first World Championship medal, Bronze.
On Uneven Bars, HE Kexin (CHN) has suffered from inconsistency since she won Gold at Beijing 2008. She will need to perform perfectly to stay ahead of 2011 World Champion KOMOVA, 2006 and 2010 World Champion Elizabeth TWEDDLE (GBR), and MUSTAFINA.
SUI Lu (CHN), YAO Jinnan (CHN) and WIEBER are likely to resume their rivalry from the 2011 World Championships on Balance Beam, where they won Gold, Silver and Bronze, respectively. Catalina PONOR (ROU), the Athens 2004 Olympic Champion who returned to competition in 2011, is looking to reclaim her title.
On Floor Exercise, Ksenia AFANASEVA (RUS) tumbled to Gold over SUI at the 2011 World Championships. Other top challengers include Beijing 2008 Gold medallist Sandra Raluca IZBASA (ROU) and 2011 World Bronze medallist Alexandra RAISMAN (USA).
Artistic Gymnastics - Useful links:
How Artistic Gymnastics works at London 2012
Start lists and results