Olympic Gymnastics Schedule 2012: Gymnasts to Watch in Women's Qualifying

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IJuly 28, 2012

Olympic Gymnastics Schedule 2012: Gymnasts to Watch in Women's Qualifying

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    Coverage of this weekend's women's gymnastics qualification at the 2012 London Olympics will begin at 4:30 a.m. ET on Sunday, July 29, but will air nationally on NBC Sunday night from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m. ET.

    Fans who aren't near a television can stream all of the qualifying action live at NBCOlympics.com. Be sure not to miss a second of the thrills from across the pond as the world's top gymnasts collide on the sport's brightest stage. 

    So, who should you be watching for in London this weekend?

    Here are five gymnasts to watch during Sunday's opening competition from London.

    Click Here For 2012 Olympic Gymnastics Results and Schedules.

Jordyn Wieber, USA

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    Jordyn Wieber is the defending world champion, having won gold in the all-around competition at last year's 2011 World Championships in Tokyo.

    The 17-year-old has tons of experience in the sport, and is the favorite heading into the events in London this summer.

    The Michigan native is stellar in the floor exercise and has the build and strength to accomplish nearly any routine she thinks up.

    Although Wieber came up just a tad short against fellow American gymnast Gabby Douglas at the 2012 US Olympic gymnastics trials earlier this summer, she is still arguably the best the sport has to offer heading into the Games.

Viktoria Komova, Russia

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    Russian superstar Viktoria Komova will be one of the top competitors at this year's Olympic Games in London. 

    Komova won gold in the all-around, uneven bars and vault at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore as a 15-year-old. Two years later Komova is hoping to bring home a much more recognized gold medal for her native Russia.

    Komova is a world champion on the uneven bars, taking home gold at last year's 2011 World Championship in Tokyo. She also won silver, finishing right behind Jordyn Wieber in the all-around competition in Tokyo.

    The 17-year-old should be fully healed and ready to dominate following surgery on her ankle that hindered her performance at last year's World Championships.

Yao Jinnan, China

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    China's best shot at individual Olympic gold in women's gymnastics will lay on the shoulders of 17-year-old Yao Jinnan.

    Jinnan won silver on the balance beam at the 2011 World Championships in Tokyo, but also took home bronze in the all-around competition, finishing third behind Jordyn Wieber and Viktoria Komova. 

    Jinnan is a force to be reckoned with on the balance beam though. She won gold at the 2011 Gymnastics World Cup on the beam, and is one of the favorites to win gold on the apparatus this summer in London. 

Gabby Douglas, USA

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    Standing no taller than 5-feet, 16-year-old American gymnast Gabby Douglas is one of the favorites to bring home gold for the United States this summer in London.

    Douglas enters the 2012 Olympic Games with a world of confidence and a wave of momentum carrying her into Sunday's qualifying stage.

    Douglas edged defending world champion gymnast Jordyn Wieber at the US Olympic gymnastics trials in early July, earning an automatic berth onto the US Olympic squad and effectively sending a message to the rest of the world.

    Douglas helped the United States to team gold at the 2011 World Championships in Tokyo, and is a standout on the uneven bars. 

Aliya Mustafina, Russia

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    Russian gymnast Aliya Mustafina would have likely challenged Jordyn Wieber for gold at the 2011 World Championships in Tokyo had she not torn her anterior cruciate ligament at the 2011 European Championships just before.

    Now, after making a full recovery and returning to the Russian squad, Mustafina is expected to challenge the world's best. 

    The Moscow native won gold in the all-around two years ago at the 2010 World Championships. With one world championship already under her belt, Mustafina can focus on winning Olympic gold in London. 

    Her quest to be the best starts on Sunday during women's qualification, where she is expected to advance with a strong performance.  

    Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

    Follow _Pat_Clarke on Twitter

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