The 2012 Chinese Olympic TeamAlthough the Chinese team are the reigning Olympic Champions, very few people can currently see them taking a medal at this year's Olympics. However, it is never a good idea to write off the Chinese team and they will certainly have their sights set on a medal. So who are the team who are trying to cause an upset at the top?
Yao Jinnan was the Bronze medallist in the all around final at the 2011 World Championships as well as the Silver medallist on beam. She only joined the national Team in 2010 and turned senior at the beginning of 2011. In this short time she has become the strongest Chinese all around gymnast. Unfortunately, injury meant that she was unable to compete at the 2012 National Championships although she desperately wanted to. Although many people are not regarding her as a major contender for the all around title she certainly should not be counted out. She will undoubtedly be a great asset to the team.
At 20 years old Deng Linlin is the current Chinese National Champion. She is an experienced Olympian having been part of the team that took the Gold in Beijing 2008. As well as a good all around gymnast she is excellent on the beam. She was World Champion on this apparatus in 2009 and took the Silver medal at the 2010 World Championships. She has competed very little since then and her recent win at the National Championships was something of a surprise. If she can keep up her good performance she will be one to watch for China.
Huang Qiushuang turned senior in 2008 but it is only in recent years that she has come into prominence in Chinese gymnastics. In 2010 she was selected to the World Championships Team where the team took the Bronze medal and individually she finished 4th in the all around final. She qualified in 2nd place to the bars final but a fall meant that she finished in 6th. At the 2011 World Championships she took yet another Bronze medal with the team and finished fifth in the all around. She again qualified to the bars final, this time winning her first individual World medal by finishing 3rd. If she keeps up the level of performace she has shown recently, her good all around scores will be help the Chinese team.
Sui Lu is one of my favourite Chinese gymnasts at the moment. Known for her excellent beam and floor work, she is graceful and elegant on both of these pieces of apparatus. She turned senior in 2008 but has often struggled with consistency. It is only in more recent years that she has shown her true capability by performing not just consistently but brilliantly. 2011 was by far her most successful year to date, taking individual Gold and Silver medals on beam and floor respectively at the 2011 World Championships. I really hope that she comes to London with the same level of performance that she showed us last year. If so, not only will she be a great help to the team but she will also be a strong contender for medals on beam and floor.
He Kexin competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and found herself in the middle of a major controversy. Some of the documentation reported her date of birth to be 1994 which would have made her ineligible for the competition at just 14 years old. This was finally put down to an administrative error and assurances were given that she was in fact born in 1992. Despite the age controversy, the 2008 Beijing Olympics proved to be highly successful for her as she helped take the team Gold as well as winning individual Gold on bars. She is without a doubt a bars specialist and is only likely to add to the team score on this event in London. If she hits her routine well, not only will she greatly help the team but she is in with a good chance of a medal in the bars final. But her problem has always been her consistency. She tends to struggle in major competitions and has found herself in the past not even qualifying to the bars final because of a poor performance in qualification. This last spot on the team was only decided fairly late on and many people did not believe that He Kexin would make the team. It is clear that the Chinese team is hoping for a boost to their team score and a possible second Gold bars medal by including her in the team.