Was this team REALLY beaten?

Shawn Johnson Beam 2008 Olympics Podium Training



Nastia Liukin Beam 2008 Olympics Podium Training



Alicia Sacramone Beam 2008 Olympics Podium Training



Samantha Peszek Beam 2008 Olympics Podium Training



Bridget Sloan Beam 2008 Olympics Podium Training



Chellsie Memmel Bars 2008 Olympics Podium Training



It’s easy to forget just how incredible this team was until you go back and actually watch these magnificent routines.  Remember how incredibly solid all six of these girls could look on beam?  Remember the one-two punch of Shawn and Nastia, and how much we all anticipated the all-around battle?  Remember how awesome both Samantha Peszek and Chellsie Memmel looked on all four events before both were injured and relegated to just bars when the competition began?


I remember thinking that this team was nearly unbeatable in Beijing.  How could a team with the two best all-around gymnasts in the world (Johnson and Liukin), an additional former world all-around champion (Memmel), a multiple world floor and vault medalist (Sacramone), and two super new talents who were looking this good (Peszek and Sloan) possibly be beaten?  Although I believed the Chinese had the talent to challenge them, I figured they would crumble under the pressure as they had done so many times in the past – including at the previous Olympics in Athens.  But boy was the competition a different story.


It’s hard to believe that FIVE of these girls are in the midst of preparing for another run at Olympic gold.  Although all five have a shot at a second Olympic Games, it is doubtful there will be room for more than one or two of them on the five-woman squad for London.  In fact, some might more realistically ask whether we are likely to see ANY of these past Olympic stars in this summer’s Olympics.


Don’t count out the veterans.  They’re all capable of the gymnastics shown above, they all know how to get into Olympic-caliber shape, and they all know how to handle big-time pressure.  And Beijing wasn’t all that long ago, was it?