Key dates: July 29, team, all-around and individual event qualification; July 31, team final; Aug. 2, all-around final Venue: North Greenwich Arena Big story: With teams down to five from the six that were allowed in 2008, will the U.S., defending world champion, bring back what team coordinator Martha Karolyi wants more than anything, a second team gold? A Karolyi-coached team has won Olympic gold only once, in Atlanta. In Athens and Beijing, the favored U.S. settled for silver. And there is already talk that the U.S. will dominate the all-around competition, as it did in Beijing, with defending world champion Jordyn Wieber (above) and her on-the-rise 16-year-old teammate Gabrielle Douglas. China, Russia and Romania are also expected to challenge for team medals with the host team, Britain, also making a push. Top U.S. prospects: Besides Wieber and Douglas, the U.S. can expect a vault medal from defending world champion McKayla Maroney of Long Beach and 15-year-old Kyla Ross, who has been flawless on uneven bars during the national championships and Olympic trials. Aly Raisman has won a world medal on floor exercise, and Douglas is an individual medal possibility on uneven bars and floor. Others to watch: A pair of Romanians, Larissa Iordache and Catalina Ponor, sparkled on the balance beam at the European nationals, winning gold and silver, and 36-year-old German Oksana Chusovitina is still a force on the vault. Britain's Beth Tweddle, at 27, would love to take an uneven medal. China's Sui Lu and Russia's Viktoria Komova are favorites on the balance beam, and Komova should push Douglas and Wieber in the all around as well as have a chance on the uneven bars. Little-known fact: Australia's women's coach, Peggy Liddick, who along with Steve Nunno helped Shannon Miller win seven Olympic and nine world championship medals, was granted Australian citizenship last January.
Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE
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