Now that the teams are taken care of, let’s go for a spin around the neighborhood with the individuals.
Unlike the last Olympics, when Yamilet Pena was the only individual competitor to make any event final, quite a few single ladies should make a push at finals this year, if not challenge for medals. Some of the non-team countries have very strong programs, you know. Almost like they should be sending more than one gymnast or something…
To the events!
As has been the case for a number of years, vault is the domain of non-team gymnasts. Very few of the gymnasts on teams will even be attempting two vaults, maybe not even 8 of them. I could see a solid half of the vault-final field coming from this pack of individuals.
Hong Un Jong – North Korea – With an Amanar and Cheng, Hong is a strong medal favorite and the most likely challenger to Biles. She has already hit for the cycle this quad with a gold, silver, and bronze over the last three years and looks like a good bet for a second silver if Paseka is all Russia Back…
Giulia Steingruber – Switzerland – 2016 Euros vault champion and now pulling a total Sacramone by trolling the gymternet with videos of a handspring 2/1. Her rudi can compete with anyone’s score on any vault, but the problem child is the second vault, which should be a DTY but is sometimes not and is always nerve-wracking. She’s definitely in the medal hunt.
Oksana Chusovitina – Uzbekistan – Doing the Prod now because why not. Given her theoretical difficulty with a Prod and often a Kas 1/1 second vault (7.0/6.0), she’s in the conversation, though the vault field is strong enough that she’s actually going to have to land the Prod in qualification to get back to the final. It can be a little Butt-a-Prod, but it can’t be a sitter.
Dipa Karmakar – India – Samesies. Her Prod has been looking a little more realistic in the last year or so. No less knee-explody, but more realistic. The problem for Karmakar is that I actually liked her simpler Tsuk vaults back a couple years ago, but she has had to upgrade to the 6.0 to keep pace with everyone. It’s not as comfortable or consistent for her. Continue reading Olympic Preview — The Individuals