With the conclusion of the World Championships, we have a clear picture of what to expect going into next year and the London Olympics.
On the men’s side, we saw China take gold, Japan take silver and the United States take bronze. There is no doubt that the battle for team gold will be between China and Japan in London. The United States is also improving and could possibly win silver. Gold may still be a little out of their reach right now.
The men’s teams that qualified to compete at the London Olympics based on their performance at the World Championships are China, Japan, the United States, Russia, Ukraine, Korea, Germany and Romania.
Kohei Uchimura of Japan won his third straight all around gold medal and could win it all in London as long as he stays healthy. Phillip Boy of Germany took silver and has only gotten stronger over the years, meaning that he could possibly be a threat for Olympic gold. And Koji Yamamura of Japan took the bronze and could repeat a medal next year as well. The Chinese men will have to improve individually in order to move into the all around medal race in London. If they can, they might be good enough to go one-two.
As for event final medals, they could really be anyone's to take. This is the one competition that has always been the least consistent when going from a Worlds to an Olympics. Many times, the gymnast who was World Champion on an apparatus the year before makes mistakes in finals or does not even qualify to compete in finals. However, if they stay consistent, the countries with the best chances of taking home multiple medals in event finals are China, Japan, and the United States. On floor, Kohei Uchimura could repeat his gold and could win several other gold medals if he stays consistent. For China, Chen Yibing and Zou Kai could win gold on still rings and high bar, respectfully. Krisztian Berki could win gold for Hungry on pommel horse and Yang Hak Seon of Korea on vault. Danell Leyva could also repeat his gold on parallel bars, but he will have tough competition from Vasileios Tsolakidis of Greece and Zhang Chenglong of China who were only one tenth behind Leyva.
Gymnasts who have qualified the the London Olympics based on their performances at the World Championships are Diego Hypolito of Brazil, Alexander Shatilov of Israel, Krisztian Berki of Hungry, Cyril Tommasone of France, Arthur Nabarrete Zanetti of Brazil and Vasileios Tsolakisis of Greece. It is important to note that Diego Hypolito, Arthur Nabarrete Zanetti and Cyril Tommasone will only compete individually in London if Brazil and France fail to qualify as a team at the London Test Event in January.
For the women, we once again saw the United States women’s team conquer adversity to win their third Team World gold medal. They look to me be the favorites to win gold in London, but silver medalist Russia could make a comeback. They had several top athletes on the injury list this year, but they should be back and ready to compete in top form at the Olympics. China won team bronze and have not looked as strong as a team since the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It they can reduce the number of falls and other breaks, they could move into silver or gold position. Romania placed fourth and many are saying they will be lucky to medal in London. But it is important to note that legendary coaches Octavian Belu and Mariana Bitang have returned to coach the teams after a seven year absence. This could mean big things for the Romanian women come London.
The women’s teams that qualified to compete at the London Olympics based on their performance at the World Championships are the United States, Russia, China, Romania, Japan, Australia, Germany, and Great Britain.
The women’s all around was not only exciting. It was controversial. American Jordyn Wieber won gold with Russian Viktoria Komova just behind her by 0.033. Yao Jinnan of China won the bronze with a fall on beam. The fight for all around gold in London will no doubt be between the United States and Russia. And with 2010 World All Around Champion Aliya Mustafina coming back from an ACL injury, the gold may once again go to her.
In event finals, we could see the first American Olympic vault champion. McKayla Maroney could very well repeat her gold in London and if Alicia Sacramone is able to recover fully from her achilles injury, she'll look to take the vault title. Uneven bars could be anyone’s to take. Several gymnasts from Russia and China will contend for gold as well as Elizabeth Tweddle of Great Britain. The gold medalist on beam could come from China, Russia, the United States or Romania. Sui Lu of China could very well take the gold again next year but she’ll have to look out for Catilina Ponor of Romania and her own team mate Yao Jinnan. The most unpredictable event final this quadrennium has been floor exercise. There has not been a repeat world champion on floor with Elizabeth Tweddle winning in 2009, Lauren Mitchell of Australia in 2010 and Ksenia Afanasyeva of Russia this year. Any of these gymnasts could take gold on floor in London.
For the women, the only gymnasts to qualify to the London Games based on her performance is vault bronze medalist Thi Ha Thanh Phan of Vietnam.
The teams who finished 9th through 16th place at Worlds will get one last chance in January at the London Test Event.
Teams competing at the Test Event for the men will be France, Great Britain, Spain, Canada, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Italy and Belarus. The women’s teams will be Italy, France, Canada, Spain, the Netherlands, Brazil, Korea and Belgium. The top 4 teams from each will advance to the Olympics.
The United States Women's Team.
The Chinese Men's Team.
The Individual Gold Medalists.