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U.S. Women's Olympic Gymnastics Qualification 2012: 3 Things to Watch

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26:  Jordyn Wieber of United States on the Vault during training sessions for Artistic Gymnastics ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games at Greenwich Training Academy on July 26, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Avi Wolfman-ArentCorrespondent IIJuly 28, 2012

The road to gold begins Sunday for the U.S. women's gymnastics team with a full slate of qualification rounds.

These are nervous moments for the so-called "Fab Five," a team talented enough to merit "gold-or-bust" expectations.

Those expectations cannot be realized tomorrow—only broken.

With that somber prologue out of the way, let's take a quick look at the storylines set to play out at the North Greenwich Arena on Sunday for Team USA.

 

1. Can Kyla Ross Connect?

A rare misstep from 15-year-old Kyla Ross on balance beam dampened what was an otherwise solid podium training session for Team USA.

By itself, the mistake is a small concern. Taken in context, it means quite a bit more.

Ross is the youngest member of a young U.S. team, and in many ways symbolizes the give-and-take with this particular squad.

Yes, she's talented, but she's also young and at times, that youth shows.

At U.S. Trials, Ross struggled on Day 1 before righting the ship and delivering a beautiful Day 2 performance.

And now that her yo-yo tendencies have revealed themselves again in London, fans will be anxious to see if she, and the rest of a young squad, can deliver when it matters most.

Ross is of particular interest because the two events she is most likely to contest in team finals, bars and beam, are Team USA's weakest apparatuses.

 

2. How Is McKayla Maroney's Toe?

The health fairy hasn't been kind to McKayla Maroney so far this season.

She suffered a concussion at Visa National after a fluke fall in warm-ups, and now enters London nursing a broken toe. Her contribution on vault is vital to Team USA's success and fans the nation over will have fingers crossed as she tests her health in qualification.

There were no reported problems in podium training, but, as with all injuries, the situation bears monitoring.

 

3. Who Makes the All-Around Final?

Depending on your math, Team USA has three of the world's six or seven best all-arounders: Jordyn Wieber, Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman.

As per Olympic rules, only two will make the event final.

Wieber and Douglas are the favorites, but Raisman is sure-footed, well-seasoned and could easily slip into the second spot if Wieber or Douglas errs.

Whichever pair makes it, expect both to challenge for medals in the final.

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