Linked below is the start list for the women’s team final, in which the first three gymnasts listed on each event are the planned competitors (the next three are listed as potential replacements). Before the competition begins, let’s take a look at the starting events for each team and see if any surprises popped up regarding which gymnasts were selected for the pressure-packed final.
The starting events are picked strictly based on ranking from preliminaries. The top two teams start on vault (Russia and China), the 3rd and 4th ranked teams start on bars (USA and Romania), 5th and 6th start on beam (Great Britain and Australia), and 7th and 8th start on floor (Italy and Japan).
Vault is a great event for Russia to start on…Mustafina and Nabieva will have a lot of adrenaline to help them hit their super-difficult Amanars, and that would give them a lot of momentum for the rest of the night. It’s also a great place for China to start on…they started on vault in Beijing and it led to Olympic gold. Three clean DTY’s will give them confidence heading into their stronger events.
The USA will be starting on one of its most important events – uneven bars, and Mackenzie Caquatto will be in the hot seat as the first American competitor of the night. We should know quite early which direction things could go for this team…if they all hit, it could actually be a huge advantage. And bars is certainly Romania’s weakest event, although they become a little stronger with the 3-gymnast format. If all three hit cleanly, they may not be as far back as many expected and will only get better throughout the night.
We can probably view the bottom four teams as being in their own competition among each other, and it will be interesting to see which of the four comes out on top (in 5th place). Great Britain and Australia have the challenge of starting on beam, while Italy and Japan will have more of an advantage starting on a more stable event, floor. Of the four, Japan has the most potential for improvement after its somewhat disastrous prelimary performance. It will be fun to see how high they can climb.
Interesting to see Dementieva will be used on THREE events for Russia in the final – bars, beam, and floor – a bit responsibility for this youngster. It’s good to see Russia will use all six of its gymnasts; Semenova will in fact be used on beam as the first gymnast up. She and Afanasyeva scored similarly in prelims (14.458 and 14.533), and I’m glad Semenova will be able to contribute a routine.
Jiang Yuyuan will do all four events for China. Will be interesting to see if she can deliver another beam routine like she did in prelims…she wasn’t used on this event in Beijing.
Caquatto will lead things off for Team USA on bars – probably the most important routine of the night for this team. Sloan and Bross will follow. Raisman will lead off on beam – a smart move considering how solid she has been. Interesting to see Larson will lead off on floor, followed by Bross and Raisman. And also a bit of a surprise to see Caquatto leading off on vault, but it does make some sense to protect Bross’s leg, and Caquatto and Larson scored almost identically in prelims.
Let the battle begin!