Olympic Women's Gymnastics Results 2012: Ranking Team USA's Best Routines

Darin Pike@darinpikeContributor IAugust 1, 2012

Olympic Women's Gymnastics Results 2012: Ranking Team USA's Best Routines

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    The U.S. women's gymnastics team put up an amazing performance in the qualification round, and then managed to outdo themselves in the team finals. If they continue this effort they will land two ladies on the podium in the all-around competition.

    Part of what makes a routine great is the performance itself and the score.

    But timing is a crucial factor in gymnastics. Posting a great score in qualification when your team already has three great scores on the board is glorified practice.

    But responding when the team needs you, or when an individual's Games are on the line, is what makes a routine great.

    Following are five moments of the 2012 Summer Olympics team gymnastics—qualification and finals—that qualify as being great.

5. Gabby Douglas, Uneven Bars, Team Qualification: 15.333

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    The U.S. team needed a big routine from Gabby Douglas during qualification. Aly Raisman had put up a disappointing performance and the team overall struggles on this apparatus.

    Jordyn Wieber and Kayla Ross had scores in the 14.8 range and they needed a big improvement from Douglas.

    Douglas showed why she has her nickname of the flying squirrel. 

    She was very good in the air but had a few issues, including a step on the landing.

    While not her best effort, it was solid and one of the best performances on the bars during qualification. 

    The video of Team USA on the uneven bars in team finals is available courtesy of nbcolympics.com.

4. Jordyn Wieber, Floor Routine, Team Finals: 15.000

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    Talk about pressure...Jordyn Wieber stepped onto the floor knowing all she needed was a clean routine and the U.S. would win gold. 

    To be clear, this wasn't the best performance the team had on the floor. It wasn't even the best in this rotation at the team finals. But it was the most impressive, as it secured the gold medal and served as Wieber's notice that she wasn't about to let her exclusion from the all-around impact her performance.

    It also showed she was able to conquer the apparatus that kept her on the sidelines for the all-around title.

    Her score in the team finals wouldn't have been enough to get her above Raisman, but it would have pushed her above Gabby Douglas.

3. Gabby Douglas and Jordyn Wieber, Vault, Team Finals: 15.9++

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    The U.S. began team finals on the vault. One of their primary competitors, Russia, was in their rotation and would be watching Team USA's start.

    Vault can be their best apparatus if they hit their routine, and it is the highest scoring opportunity in the competition.

    A great showing would immediately put pressure on the competition, and the U.S. did just that.

    Wieber began the routine, nailing a great vault to earn a score of 15.933. A small hop on the landing kept her from registering a mark above 16.

    Douglas put even more pressure on the competition, and barely edged out Wieber's score, with a 15.966.

    With their vault specialist on deck, the U.S. ladies could put the rest of the competition on notice and launch their gold-medal effort. 

    Video of the U.S. women's vault in the team finals is available on nbcolympics.com.

2. Aly Raisman, Floor, Team Qualification: 15.325

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    Aly Raisman registered an amazing floor routine in the team finals. Her 15.300 helped the USA grab their gold medals, but they had such a commanding lead it would have taken an incredible collapse to not reach the top of the podium.

    Where Raisman really faced pressure was finishing off the team qualification round.

    Her team was guaranteed a spot in the finals before she stepped on the floor. She could have done a series of somersaults and one-handed cart wheels and they still would have made the finals.

    But what was on the line was the second berth into the individual all-around. Wieber struggled during her routine and managed just a 14.666.

    Raisman needed a 15.000 to advance, but knew that in doing so she'd knock her teammate out of the individual all-around.

    To that point, only one gymnast had registered a score that high on the floor. The judges were being stingy, and Raisman would need to be near-perfect.

    She was.

    Raisman's score was the best on the day by a good margin and her Olympic dream would continue.

1. McKayla Maroney, Vault, Team Finals: 16.233

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    McKayla Maroney opted to do her "Amanars" vault for her lone effort in the team finals. It is the most difficult vault being performed by the women, leaving a large risk/reward.

    Watching this vault live it was hard to tell what Maroney did wrong. There must have been something, though. After all, the judges docked her score by .267.

    When watching the vault again in slow motion the issue became clear. The judges didn't have the guts to give her a "10" on execution.

    This effort was flawless, and more impressive, it looked effortless.

    She hit the springboard perfectly and gained even more spring off the back of the vault. Maroney was graceful in the air and then she stuck the landing in a jaw-dropping performance.

    For the record, I'm not just throwing out an over-used descriptive.

    Of the judges visible at the end of her jump, one's jaw literally dropped while another was mouthing "wow." 

    McKayla Maroney Vault 2012 - Judges faces by kofiswag

    It just doesn't get any better than that...unless, of course, they follow that up with giving her the score she earned.

    From a team-perspective it does get a little better. By the end of the team finals the U.S. had the top-three scores on the vault.