London Summer Olympics 2012: Power Ranking World's Top 10 Women's Gymnasts

Emily BayciContributor IIIJune 7, 2012

London Summer Olympics 2012: Power Ranking World's Top 10 Women's Gymnasts

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    I don't know if it's just me but every year it seems like gymnastics gets more and more competitive at the Olympics. It is definitely going to be a battle for every tenth of a point in the all-around competition at London.

    All-around gymnasts are becoming more common as with only five gymnasts on the Olympic teams there is less room for specialists. 

    It's tough to say exactly which gymnasts will win medals this summer because I'm unsure who will make the five-person cut. However, there is no denying which women gymnasts are the best in the world. My list features mostly all-arounders with just a few specialists who are unstoppable on their specific events.

10. Cheng Fei, China

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    Sometimes comebacks are possible. 

    I'll be the first to say it was good for Shawn Johnson to retire and that Nastia Liukin's time in the spotlight is done. But for Cheng Fei of China, that's untrue. 

    She will be bidding for her third Olympic appearance and at 24, she is the oldest active gymnast in China. 

    Her specialties are vault and floor and she returned to international competition last month after three years away. Fei won the vault title at the World Cup in China.

9. Catalina Ponor, Romania

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    At 24, Catalina Ponor is considered a veteran of gymnastics and is Romania's best hope at making it to the podium. Romania, a former powerhouse, was shut out of medals at the 2011 worlds.

    Ponor led Romania to gold in 2004 and won the beam and floor gold medals too. She wasn't able to repeat in 2008 because of an injury, but her competitive experience may be just what Romania needs and what so many gymnasts in other countries lack.

8. Rebecca Bross, U.S.A.

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    Rebecca Bross is the story of an under-the-radar comeback. 

    She was seven months too young for the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing. 

    Bross made her world championships debut in 2009 where she took silver. She was the 2010 U.S. champion and won the bronze medal in the all-around at worlds in 2010. After the season, she needed surgery on her right ankle. Then, last August at VISA Championships, she dislocated her right kneecap during the vault and needed surgery.

    Now Bross is back again. She is no longer an all-arounder which could hurt her chances at making the Olympic team but is among the best in the world in her specialities, bars and beam.

7. Huang Qiushuang, China

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    Huang Quishuang is very talented on the bars and she won a bronze medal on them at the 2011 worlds. She has one of the highest start values in the world and if she hits she'll likely get a medal, probably gold.

    She is also a talented all-arounder though she lacks consistency. 

6. Gabby Douglas, U.S.A.

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    Gaby Douglas could steal all of Jordyn Wieber's spotlight as Team USA's star in London. 

    Douglas finished ahead of Wieber at this year's American Cup, but she was competing as an alternate so her scores didn't count. This is one of multiple times Douglas has gotten the shaft, another at the 2011 worlds. She competed on all four events in prelims and was fifth in the all-around. She couldn't compete in the all-around finals because of the two-per-country rule. Two U.S. gymnasts had already advanced to the finals, Wieber and Aly Raisman (they were second and fourth in prelims).

    Douglas qualified for the bars finals at worlds and finished fifth with an error. She is one of the top bars competitors in the U.S. and that's the weakest event for America. 

    She's a very young gymnast, born on December 15, 1995, though she competes like a veteran, something she proved at worlds.

5. Alexandra Raisman, U.S.A.

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    Alexandra Raisman, 18, won a gold medal in team gymnastics along with a bronze medal in floor at the 2011 worlds.  She recently defended her all-around title at the U.S. Classic.

    She is highly competitive and a consistent gymnast with some of the best tumbling skills in the world which gives her the strong floor routine. She needs to work on the dance portion of her floor if she wants to medal.

4. Yao Jinnan, China

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    Yao Jinnan won the all-around bronze medal at the 2011 worlds. She is known for her calm composure during competition and could potentially win medals in the all-around, bars and beam.

    On May 9, she dropped out of the China National Championships because of a slight knee injury. This is the main event for Chinese gymnasts getting named to the Olympic team, but she has more chances to make the roster.

3. Viktoria Komova, Russia

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    Viktoria Komova is underrated for the amount of talent she has and that is no doubt going to show in London. The 17-year-old won the silver medal in the all-around at the 2011 World Championships, narrowly behind Jordyn Wieber. She has what it takes to edge out Wieber; she just has to stay healthy—something many of the Russian gymnasts have been struggling with.

    She has a very artistic style and is often compared to a ballet dancer. She has a very complex bars routine with a Shaposhnivoka-half and a layout Jaeger and could win a medal on that.

2. Aliya Mustafina, Russia

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    Russia's Aliya Mustafina was the 2010 all-around world champion.  The 17-year-old arguably has the highest difficulty gymnastics in the world. She has unique skills on all four events. On bars, she dismounts with a 1.5-twist double tuck which has been named the Mustafina and she does a round-off triple full dismount on beam.

    She blew out her knee doing an Amanar vault in April 2011 at the European Championships. She suffered a torn cruciate ligament and had knee surgery. Mustafina has been struggling ever since and it will be interesting to see if she keeps her difficulty up.

    She wants the gold though and has been wanting to face Jordyn Wieber since Wieber beat Mustafina at the 2011 American Cup.

1. Jordyn Wieber, U.S.A.

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    Jordyn Wieber may only be 16, but after winning the all-around at the 2011 World Championships, everyone is watching her.

    If Wieber wins the all-around gold, she could become the first world all-around champion to follow up with an Olympic all-around gold medal since Lilia Podkopayeva in 1995-1996. 

    NBC is planning to center its coverage around her and she is hoping to follow U.S. Olympic all-around gold medalists  Mary Lou Retton (1984), Carly Patterson (2004) and Nastia Liukin (2008).

    In 2006, Wieber competed in her first Visa Championships as an 11-year old. Wieber won a junior national title, a senior national championship and two America's Cup victories. In 2011 she moved up to the senior level.