Olympics: Women's gymnastics' must-see routines
With the men’s gymnastics underway today in London, the women prepare to take center stage on Sunday. Tim Daggett, a member of the 1984 gold-medal winning men’s U.S. team who’s calling his sixth Olympics for NBC, recalls well Kerri Strug’s vault that clinched the team gold in 1996. “As soon as she landed, I knew she did something on her first vault. As she’s walking back, she’s shaking out her ankle. I’m thinking, ooh, this doesn’t look good. The most punishing thing on your ankle in gymnastics is vault. I remember thinking if there is a person in this arena that’s tough enough to run down and do that second vault, she’s it. And she was. I knew watching it this is an Olympic moment that will live forever.”
Which Olympic moments do you not want to miss in London? We asked Daggett to pick them. Sneak a peek below.
U.S. athlete: McKayla Maroney. I’d be absolutely shocked if she doesn’t win the Olympics on vault. She does a vault, an Amanar, named after the Romanian gymnast who did it first. My guess is there’ll only be about six to eight of them performed at the Olympics because it’s so hard. All of the world has been trying to catch up to the Americans on vaulting. The Americans have a ton of people who can do this. Some of the other countries, maybe they’ve got one, possibly they could have two, but it’s just making it, and hers is like magic.
World athlete: Oksana Chusovitina from Germany. She’s 37-years-old, this will be her sixth Olympic Games, and she’s had a child. It’s unthinkable to be 37, in your sixth Olympic Games, and to be competing in women’s gymnastics — and she’s gonna win a medal.
NEXT: Uneven Bars
U.S. athlete: Gabrielle Douglas. The reason that routine is so critical is because she’s in contention for the all-around gold. If she does what she’s capable of there, she distances herself from a lot of the top candidates. She has two major release skills where she flies higher than anybody is going to at the Games.
World athlete: Elizabeth Tweddle from Great Britain. I cannot choose one. But I can tell you the one I’m gonna want to see the most is Elizabeth Tweddle from Great Britain because she’s phenomenal — phenomenal — and she’s not from a power house country. She’s in Great Britain, and it’s gonna be rocking. You cannot even catch your breath in her routine, honestly. A lot of these gymnasts, even the very, very top ones, there are spots where it slows down. This is like a locomotive that’s going so fast it’s gonna come off the tracks, and it does, but only on the dismount.
NEXT: Balance Beam
U.S. athlete: Kyla Ross. She has just absolutely gorgeous lines and a beautiful feel for elegance.
World athletes: Sui Lu and Yao Jinnan from China. They’re both phenomenal and gorgeous. They make beam look beautiful even though it’s so hard to accomplish that because there’s a time limit and they’ve got to pack in so many elements.
NEXT: Floor Exercise
U.S. athletes: Jordyn Wieber and Aly Raisman. What Jordan’s gonna show is that she’s great everywhere, and this is probably her strongest event. And Aly’s one tumbling pass has more difficulty than many of the top gymnasts’ two hardest tumbling passes put together.
World athlete: Anastasia Grishina from Russia. Absolutely pure elegance and power combined.