US Women's Gymnastics Team 2012: Americans Who Will Shine in Individual Events

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US Women's Gymnastics Team 2012: Americans Who Will Shine in Individual Events
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The United States women's gymnastics team is young, but primed for glory at the 2012 London Olympics this summer.

U.S. women's gymnastics shot up the national popularity charts in 2008 in Beijing where the American women missed the gold medal by less than two points thanks to competitors Shawn Johnson, Nastia Liukin, Alicia Sacramone and others.

This year's squad will look to not only continue the winning tradition, but raise the bar that the 2008 team set and win a team gold medal in London.

Not only is the team gold in reach, there are a select few women who are going to compete for medals in individual events.

Here are two of those women.

 

McKayla Maroney - Vault

There aren't many 16-year-olds who can say that they are in the conversation to win a medal in a major international competition. When you narrow that group down to those who can say they've done so in the Olympics, the group is much more select.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

McKayla Maroney is the defending world champion in the vault event, and became the third of a back-to-back-to-back run of American women placing first in the event when she was just 15 years old.

She's been plenty consistent in terms of her ability to take home the gold medal in the event, finishing in first place in the Pan American Games in Guadalajara in 2010 and in 2011 at the Visa Championships.

Maroney is improving too. According to International Gymnast, she "recently added an additional half-twist to her second vault, which is now a round-off, half-on, full-twisting layout front somersault (Mustafina)."

I don't know exactly what a Mustafina is, but it's going to help Maroney medal at the 2012 London Olympics.

 

Gabby Douglas - Uneven Bars

Gabby Douglas will become the first African-American woman to compete on the United States women's gymnastics team since Dominique Dawes went to Sydney in 2000.

She's not old enough to drive a car by herself, but at 16 years old, she's being heralded as one of the favorites to come away with a medal in the uneven bars in London.

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The "Flying Squirrel" upset teammate Wieber at the Olympic Trials less than a month ago.

Prior to that, she won the gold on the uneven bars in 2010 in the Pan American Games, a bronze medal in Saint Paul in 2011 at the Visa Championships, another gold in Everett, Washington at the 2012 Pacific Rim Championships in March and a third gold in the event in St. Louis at the Visa Championships.

Douglas has the necessary skills to medal on the uneven bars, but only time will tell if her dreams come to fruition.

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