London was the goal and London is already here. In just a week, a few selected gymnasts from around the world will finally accomplish their dream: the Olympics.
18 medals will be awarded in the women’s gymnastics field and it seems that the traditional powerhouses: United States, Russia, Romania and China will, once again, dominate the medal table.
This is a prediction based on actual competition results. We aknowledge the difference in scoring between competitions and score bonus in some countries, but we also think this is the fairest and most mathematical way to make predictions.
Olympics format: 5-4-3 (qualifications) and 5-3-3 (team final).
We have calculated 3 scenarios:
– maximum score: the maximum score possible for the country taking 3 highest scores for each apparatus.
– minimum score: the minimum score possible for the country taking the 3 lowest scores for each apparatus.
– average score: the average results of a team.
The scores used are those official in any 2012 tournament and 2011 World Championships. We have used 2011 Worlds because it is the only competition where all the gymnasts were scored by the same judges.
USA is the clear favourite to take team gold in London. They are in the top position in the three scenarios studied. They have a very balanced team with high scorers in all apparatus and great consistency. Their disadvantage is that they haven’t competed that much outside US territory (Jesolo this year), so home judging might play a big factor here. However, even if their scores are a bit lower in London, they have a big enough cushion ahead the other teams to afford not hit routines and even falls.
Among the top teams is not a surprise that Russia is the less stable. They have a range of 18 points between a hit competition and a melt down. Russia is able to challenge USA for gold, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if they end up outside the podium. The injuries, inconsistency and lack of depth makes Russia a big question mark. Are they going to hit?
Ready to take the podium are Romania and China. Both teams underperformed during the early competitions of the quadrennium; but seem to be peaking at the right moment. Romania would end up in the podium in all our scenarios (2 in silver and 1 in bronze) while China only manages a bronze medal at the minimum score scenario. There were not a lot of scores for China during 2012 to be counted in, so their team total is probably the worst predicted because the lack of different scores.
For the other teams, it seems cleary that Brazil (with scandals regarding Jade Barbosa) and France (with nearly all the team injured) are the ones not making the cut for team final. Then, there are 6 teams for 4 spots for the final. Great Britain, Italy and Australia shouldn’t have problems advancing to team finals according to all our scenarios studied. In our predictions the last spot would be either Canada, Japan or Germany. Japan is probably the country with the worst progression during this quad and a 5 team gymnasts make their vault and floor rotations weak. If they manage to hit beam and floor, they could sneak into finals, but they are not a secured team final team anymore. Germany relies on vault but the beam rotation could make them be out of the final; while Canada inconsistency is their biggest problem after losing team leader Christine Lee.
For the first time, we have also calculated the rankings per apparatus of every country with the three same scenarios:
USA is the Amanar (Yurchenko 2 1/2) team and this shows in the vault rankings. If everybody hits vault, USA could potential have a comfortable lead after vault. Russia has strong Yurchenko 2/1, but they are pushing themselves for harder vaults that could undermine their total score if not hit. Romania is in the same situation of Russia but with more stable vaults. Germany with Oksana Chusovitina and Janine Berger will use vault to boost their team total.
It is no surprise Russia is the topo bars worker, with two 7.0 sets and another 6.5 (and improving); bars should be for Russia what vault is for USA. But USA has improved this year on bars with Gabrielle Douglas and Kyla Ross, so the gap is narrowed. China is third in all scenarios, but their inconsistency and build in deductions of their routines might compensate the high D scores. Great Britain is in Beth Tweddle hands for a strong performance in this apparatus.
Romania and USA are head to head in this apparatus. Both teams with consistent and high difficult routines. The differences between the two countries is marginal; but beam is Romania’s opportunity to boost their team total. China is, once again, in third with beautiful difficult beam routines. Beam is Russia’s most iffy apparatus, probably the one that defines Russia’s inconsistency. If they hit, they have the scores, but the impossible combinations and their lack of believe on beam are their enemies. One team worth mentioning on beam is Italy, that produces original and difficulty routines with superb extension.
USA is a powerful tumbler country and it shows on floor, with very high tumbling and difficult skills. For USA, the out of bouns (OOB) are their biggest enemies. Romania is in second and improving, during the last year their choreographies have made a progression. Russia is in third if Grishina and Afanaasyeva are totally recovered, otherwise, they are on floor weak. Australia, Canada and Itally have strong individual performances on the event.