The stage is set for a trio of women's gymnastics superpowers seeking Olympic supremacy. The United States is expected to battle Romania and Russia for team gold at the 2012 London Summer Games, where the star power is staggering and competition should be sensational.
The rivalry between the United States and Russia dates back to the tense days of the Cold War, when every athletic matchup between the countries seemed to be an international battle of its own. The breakup of the Soviet Union set the stage for the emergence of Romania, a nation seeking its third Olympic team title in women's gymnastics since 2000.
Although they're a world apart, all three teams have grown rather familiar with one another recently.
The U.S. and Russian national teams battled for gold at the 2011 World Gymnastics Championships. An American squad featuring four of the five current U.S. Olympians captured top honors, while Russia settled for second place without one of the its top performers.
Russia was edged for first place once again at the 2012 European Gymnastics Championships, this time by Romania. It's been a round-robin tournament of sorts between the three teams lately, and an exciting conclusion awaits at the Summer Olympics.
Gold medal-winning teams are always driven by strong individual performances. All three squads will travel to London with world-class performers who could push their country to the top of the awards podium.
Less than a month away from the commencement of Olympic gymnastics competition, we now know which women will play pivotal roles on each team. It's time to see how the U.S. stacks up against the two squads most likely to stand in the way of America's first Olympic team gold since 1996.