Women's Gymnastics 2012: Aly Raisman and the Top 5 Olympic Floor Routines
The 2012 London Olympics have been an emotional roller coaster for Aly Raisman. She has had highs and lows, even experiencing both while ousting her teammate and close friend from the all-around competition.
Raisman has two more opportunities to add high points, one of which will be closing out the artistic gymnastics program by taking home a gold medal in the women's floor exercise.
There is some solid competition for Raisman, including the teammate she knocked out of the all-around competition.
If Raisman performs her best routine she isn't beatable on this apparatus. Her qualifying round had the highest difficulty level (D-level) of any gymnast.
Should she falter, though, there are several contenders that will challenge for the gold medal.
Following is a summary of how the top competition stacks up to Raisman. It includes a summary for each athlete, including the scores from the qualifying round.
Catalina Ponor is perhaps the most graceful contestant and could be a surprise addition to the podium.
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Gymnast: Ksenia Afanasyeva
Gymnast: Catalina Ponor
Gymnast: Aliya Mustafina
5. Vanessa Ferrari (Italy)
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Gymnast: Vanessa Ferrari
Ferrari is a strong challenger, but she will need to be a bit cleaner in the event finals. She has struggled with this floor and lost difficulty and execution points because of it in the team finals.
She posted a disappointing 13.566, worst on her team and 20th out of the 24 team finals routines.
She was better in the all-around, posting the fifth-best score of 14.866.
A clean routine may put her on the podium, but she hasn't managed one on this floor.
4. Jordyn Wieber (United States)
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Gymnast: Jordyn Wieber
Nation: United States
Wieber has a solid floor routine, but she lacks the D-level that would make her a contender for the gold medal. If Raisman and another contestant falter, she could reach the top of the podium.
The bounce in the floor has been tough on Wieber. She had a major error in qualifications, stepping out of bounds. She was better in the team competition, securing a 9.00 in execution for a final score of 15.000.
While listed fourth here, Wieber will likely reach the podium. One of the competitors to come will likely falter, opening up a space to the left of Raisman.
Bronze: Lauren Mitchell (Australia)
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Gymnast: Lauren Mitchell
If I were to pick a contender that will open the door for Wieber, it would be Mitchell. She hasn't been consistent, but has the potential to drop a score in the 15.200 range.
This makes her a contender for the gold medal, and a good performance will put her on the podium.
Mitchell has had just the one opportunity to compete in London, though. The qualification round plus the podium training session hasn't allowed her the time to adjust to the spring on this floor.
Other contenders have had two more competitions and training sessions to adjust.
Silver: Sandra Izbasa (Romania)
Sandra Izbasa's gold-medal performance in 2008.
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Gymnast: Sandra Izbasa
Izbasa is the only competitor that can keep pace with one of Raisman's clean routines. She definitely has the D-Level and skill set to challenge for the floor title.
The 22-year-old is the defending Olympic champion on the floor and had the only score better than Raisman's in the all-around competition. She received an 8.900 execution with the D-level above for a 15.200.
She has had the benefit of three trips in competition and could drop a 15.3 to push Raisman.
Gold: Aly Raisman (United States)
Raisman's opening tumbling run is the hardest in the field.
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Gymnast: Aly Raisman
Nation: United States
Raisman has been very consistent in the London Games. She's put up great performances when needed, either to advance to the apparatus finals or help her team win gold.
When she had the chance to medal in the all-around competition, it appeared she'd put up a performance just as clean as she had in qualification, but the judges felt differently.
In the apparatus finals, there will be no extenuating circumstances in the judging; it will be gymnast against gymnast, and Raisman will secure individual gold.
Raisman's standard routine has a D-score that is as high as any in the finals. When she is feeling daring, such as in the qualification round, she adds in a twist on her opening tumbling run, bumping her from a starting point of 6.3 to 6.5.
But the extra bounce in London's floor has made it difficult for her (and other gymnasts) to stay in-bounds, so she nixed that in the all-around routine.
She was able to attempt the tougher routine in the qualification round with no risk to the team—they had secured their position in the finals.
Her routine would only impact two things: whether she advanced to the individual all-around and her placement in the apparatus finals. Her team had nothing to lose, and she had a spot in the all-around to gain, so she nailed the more difficult intro.
She will have the advantage of going last in the finale. She will know what score she needs to win and can then choose if she needs to take a safe approach or add the tougher element.
At least for Raisman, the 2012 Summer Olympics will end on a high note.