Jordyn Wieber: Which Event Brings Her Best Chance at London Gold
Though the recent cover of Sports Illustrated identifies this year's United States Olympic gymnastics team as a team of five stars, no star burns brighter than Jordyn Wieber. Wieber has been the star of the national and international gymnastics world over the past two years, and she will be the star of the sport during the 2012 London Olympics.
While Team USA will focus on their goal of avenging their 2008 loss to China in the team all-around, Wieber also has the chance to pick up a few medals of her own in the individual events.
Here is a look at Jordyn Wieber's chances of winning each event in the 2012 London Olympics.
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At the Olympic trials, there was a logjam at the top of the rankings in the beam, with Aly Raisman coming out on top. Alicia Sacramone, who missed the Olympic team, finished second, and Wieber finished tied for third in the event with Kyla Ross.
Wieber turned in strong performances both on the national and international level in 2011. She won bronze on the beam at both the 2011 Visa National Championships and the 2011 World Championships. She fell to fifth at this year's National Championships and sixth at the Pacific Rim Championships.
Jordyn Wieber has proven herself to be an elite beam competitor in the past, but her performance on the apparatus in 2012 indicates that she will not be a strong competitor on the apparatus in London. If she can find some of her old magic, she has the potential to surprise her competitors.
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Jordyn Wieber has found more success on the floor exercise than on any other apparatus.
She won gold in the event at the 2011 Visa National Championships, and this year walked away with the silver, her only medal in an individual apparatus. She finished in a respectable sixth place at the 2011 World Championships, despite being the youngest competitor in the event.
In addition to her silver medal at the 2012 Nationals, Wieber has never looked better on the floor. She won gold at the 2012 Pacific Rim Championship and finished second in the Olympic trials, just 0.100 points behind winner Aly Raisman.
Wieber's stiffest competition in the event will come from Raisman and Romania's Larisa Iordache, who won gold in the event at last year's European Youth Olympic Festival. Raisman denied Wieber the gold at both the 2011 National Championships and the first place spot in the Trials, and she will attempt to make it a trifecta in London. But the gap between the two is razor thin, and either could come out on top in London.
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The Americans are not expected to earn a medal on the uneven bars, but Gabby Douglas has a reasonable chance of earning a medal. Wieber finished fourth at the Olympic trials, only .450 points behind Douglas.
Wieber won gold on the bars at the 2011 Visa National Championships, though she fell to fifth place in the 2011 Championships. She also won the event at the 2010 and 2011 CoverGirl Classics.
It is very unlikely that Wieber will medal in the bars in London, as it has been her weakest event over the past year. Other than Douglas, Kyla Ross is the best chance the Americans have of earning a medal on the apparatus.
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Vault specialist McKayla Maroney is widely expected to skip away with the gold medal in the vault, but if she should falter, Jordyn Wieber offers Team USA's best chance at becoming the first American woman ever to win gold on the apparatus.
Wieber's best senior international vault performances came at the 2011 City of Jesolo Trophy and the 2010 Pacific Rim Championships, earning silver at both. Nationally, she has been dominant on the apparatus: She finished second at the 2007 National Championships, first at the 2008 National Championships and first at the 2010 CoverGirl Classic.
Wieber hasn't accomplished as much on the apparatus in the past year, and nearly all of the attention will go to her teammate Maroney. Still, she has proven that she is an outstanding vaulter, and she has the ability to sneak onto the podium.
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Wieber could very well walk away without a medal on any single apparatus, yet it would be shocking if she does not win at least one individual medal. As a strong competitor on every apparatus, Wieber has proven herself to be one of the very best all-around gymnasts in the world and the favorite for the gold medal in the all-around event.
Wieber won gold in the all-around at the 2011 and 2012 Visa National Championships, three of the last four America Cups, the 2012 Pacific Rim Championships, and the 2011 World Championships. She was upset at the Olympic trials by her teammate Gabby Douglas by the tiny margin of 0.100, and Douglas is her biggest competitor at the Olympic games. Still, Wieber's experience and dominance both nationally and internationally make her the clear front runner to win the all-around gold medal.
Americans have won the gold in the all-around in the past two Olympics, and Jordyn Wieber is the favorite to make it three in a row.