The pool of strong world all-around competitors on the women’s side has grown tremendously in the past year. Here are twelve contenders for the women’s all-around medals in Rotterdam:
1. Rebecca Bross: An obvious favorite for the title, given that she had all but wrapped up last year’s crown before a fluke fall on her final tumbling run on floor dropped her to second by a painful half-tenth. With far more confidence and international success under her belt now, Bross isn’t likely to make such a rookie error again.
2. Aliya Mustafina: A 60+ all-around score at a recent competition in The Netherlands officially made this intriguing Russian gymnast Bross’s biggest threat for gold. Strong on all four events, her newly added Amanar on vault (which she competed near flawlessly in her most recent meet) may in fact give her the edge over the American.
3. Ksenia Afanasyeva: Considered a favorite for the all-around last year before dropping out with an injury, Ksenia has rebounded this year with an amazing double layout on floor and the best four-event arsenal she has ever had.
4. Jiang Yuyuan: A sentimental favorite from Beijing, Jiang has emerged from a year-long slump with brand new routines on both floor and bars and the spark to her gymnastics that we all fell in love with two years ago.
5. Ana Porgras: She may be a bit fragile, but Romania’s new superstar is one of the best in the world on three out of the four events. She may be one twist on vault away from beating them all.
6. Mattie Larson: In the best shape of her life, Larson must still be riding high from her sizzling performance at the Visa Championships. With Sloan’s status as an all-arounder questionable, Larson may now have the opportunity of her life.
7. Tatiana Nabieva: Armed with a huge new release on uneven bars (which will likely be named after her), this Russian with an attitude has the goods to finish on the podium – if she can hit her huge tricks under pressure and beat out Afanasyeva for a spot in the all-around finals.
8. Huang Qiushuang: One of the most talented all-arounders of them all, Huang has battled with consistency in competition this year, particularly on beam. If she hits four events in the prelims, she may find herself a surprise contender for the all-around podium.
9. Deng Linlin: One of the babies of the 2008 Olympic gold medal team is all grown up, and she has a world beam title to prove it. Deng has improved some of her former weaknesses – like the uneven bars – to become a formidable all-around threat.
10. Koko Tsurumi: One of the most popular gymnasts from last year’s worlds, Koko’s bronze medal in the all-around and silver on uneven bars elevated her entire country to a whole new level. Can she do it again?
11. Lauren Mitchell: Another big surprise at last year’s worlds with two silver medals and a 4th place all-around finish, Lauren will likely have a few more eyes on her in Rotterdam.
12. Bridget Sloan: Strange that we don’t even know if the reigning world champion will even make the U.S. team, but if she’s healthy enough to compete, Sloan remains one of the most balanced all-arounders in the world.