This is the first post in a series I’ve decided to start that explores just how stacked the Olympic and World event finals have been in the past (I may extend it to all-around finals later, but that requires a TON more work). I won’t be doing them in order, but if there’s one you would like me to do, request it and I’ll bump it up!
NB: This will ignore team results, as much more goes into a team placing than what one can achieve on a floor routine.
To start off, we’ll have a look at the 2012 Olympic floor final, probably one of the most stacked event finals in recent years. Our top eight finalists, in order of qualifying, were:
Looking at titles, it’s already clear this final was incredibly masterful and competitive on this apparatus. We had:
- The last two Olympic Champions; Ponor (2004 Athens), and Izbasa (2008 Beijing) - The last two World Champions; Mitchell (2010 Rotterdam), and Afanasyeva (2011 Tokyo) - Two former World all-around champions; Ferrari (2006 Aarhus), and Mustafina (2010 Rotterdam) - The current reigning World all-around champion; Wieber (2011 Tokyo)
The only gymnast who had never held a major title on floor or in the all-around was Aly Raisman, who inevitably went on to win the Olympic title and add her name to the glowing list of finalists.
Titles aside, these eight girls had other pretty impressive credentials coming into the final. Let’s take a look:
Aly Raisman - World bronze medallist on floor, 2011 Tokyo.
Sandra Izbasa - World bronze medallist in the all-around, 2006 Aarhus - Three time European floor champion, 2006 Volos, 2008 Clermont, 2011 Berlin
Vanessa Ferrari - World bronze medallist on floor, 2006 Aarhus (she would also win a silver the year following the Olympics at the Worlds in Antwerp, Belgium) - European floor champion, as well as all-around champion, 2007 Amsterdam (she would also win the European floor title in 2014, in Sofia) - Two European silver medals on floor, 2006 Volos, 2009 Milan
Ksenia Afanasyeva - European silver medallist in the all-around, 2009 Milan With the exception of her world title and European silver medal, all of Ksenia’s greatest achievements involving her masterful floor routines would come in the years following the London Olympics, with two European titles in 2013 and 2015, as well as a World silver medal in 2015
Lauren Mitchell - World silver medallist on floor, 2009 London - Commonwealth Games all-around champion and floor silver medallist, 2010 Delhi
Jordyn Wieber As far as floor exercise was concerned, Jordyn’s only major achievement was winning the World AA title the year preceding the Olympics. However, Jordyn was the American Cup champion in 2009, 2011, and 2012.
Catalina Ponor - World silver medallist on floor, 2003 Anaheim - European Champion on floor, 2004 Amsterdam - European silver medallist on floor, 2012 Brussels - European bronze medallist on floor, 2006 Volos
Aliya Mustafina - World silver medallist on floor, 2010 Rotterdam - Olympic bronze medallist in the all-around, 2012 London Like her teammate, Afanasyeva, many of Mustafina’s biggest achievements concerning floor would come after the Olympic Games.
It was clear coming in that any one of these eight girls had the potential to be on the podium. Sandra Izbasa was a hot favourite for a medal, as was Afanasyeva, however both had mistakes that took them out of the running. In the end, it was Aly Raisman, the only girl not holding a major title, to reign supreme, with Catalina Ponor and Aliya Mustafina grabbing silver and bronze respectively.
Watching the Gala de Estrellas and all the cute fan moments made me remember this moment during the UB medal ceremony in Brussels in 2012. The hall was FULL of Romanian fans and my friend and I had this Russian flag so we kept waving it and were caught on camera. I like to think we made Vika smile ^_^ Loved that podium btw! Vika, Nastia and Kononenko