Women's Olympic Individual Gymnastics: Dark Horses Who Could Win All-Around Gold
The United States may be the favorite to defend its gold medal in the women's individual all-around competition, but it will have to face some stiff competition to do so.
In 2008, Nastia Liukin edged out fellow American Shawn Johnson, as the duo placed first and second, respectively.
The qualifying round of this year's all-around competition provided some similar drama, as 2011 individual all-around world champion Jordyn Wieber failed to qualify as one of the two best American individuals.
Instead, she was edged out by 18-year-old Aly Raisman, her friend and teammate, who will join Gabby Douglas in defending their country's all-around gold medal.
After a strong showing during the team portion of the competition, though, Douglas looks to be the favorite heading into the individual all-around.
Douglas was the only American in the team competition to have her scores counted for all four events.
However, there are still plenty of other talented gymnasts who could have a great day and swipe gold from Douglas.
Here are those athletes:
Aly Raisman: USA
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Aly Raisman actually finished with the second-highest qualifying score for the individual all-around, which she used to boot out teammate Jordyn Wieber.
Just behind her in third was Douglas, who looks to be the favorite after dominating in the team event.
However, if anyone is capable of outperforming Douglas, its Raisman, who finished fourth in the individual all-around at the 2011 World Championships.
Raisman is the old maid of the American group—the only one over the age of 18, and probably the one least likely to have another shot at the Olympics.
Since the shelf life of gymnasts is always low, Raisman may have saved her best performance for what may be her last big shining moment.
The key for the Boston native will be finding improvement on the uneven bars.
If she can do that and once again dominate the floor, Raisman may be the one to out-duel Douglas.
Victoria Komova: Russia
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Russia will be highly motivated heading into the individual all-around stage after being bested by the United States for the team gold medal.
Fortunately for Russia, it may have the gymnast with the best chance for the individual medal.
Seventeen-year-old Victoria Komova had the No. 1 individual all-around qualifying score at 60.632.
She followed that up with an overall strong showing in the team competition, where she finished in the top six in three events.
Her track record of success doesn't end there.
At the 2011 World Championships, she finished with a silver—just 0.33 points behind the title winner, Jordyn Wieber.
Uneven bars are Komova's strength and if she has a good day on the floor, she cannot be counted out for the individual all-around.
Quishuang Huang: China
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Quishuang Huang wasn't even the best gymnast on her team during the qualifying round, as she was beaten out slightly by Linlin Deng.
However, Huang is probably the best shot at all-around gold the Chinese have.
She showed this during the team competition, where she was the only Chinese athlete to have her scores counted toward the team total in all four events.
Huang also boasts the highest score of the two gymnasts representing China in the individual all-around at the world championships, where she finished No. 5 in 2011.
She was just 1.04 points off of Aly Raisman and less than two points off Jordyn Wieber's gold medal-winning effort.
The Chinese certainly aren't where they were in 2008, which was expected entering the competition, but their best hope for a medal lies in Huang.