Preview: Will Mustafina Mine More Gold?
(5 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Russia's Aliya Mustafina has been unstoppable so far in Rotterdam, but can she put together four more great routines in Friday all-around final?

Mustafina blew away the field in qualification, outscoring top rival Rebecca Bross by more than 1.5 points. During the team final, Mustafina was even better as she led the Russian women to their first-ever world team title.

But the all-around final will start from zero, and the competition for gold should be much closer than in the men's competition. With the women only counting four routines, one fall can spell disaster in the final.

The big story will be the rivalry between Mustafina and Bross. Mustafina's former coach at CSKA Moscow, Dina Kamalova, moved to Texas and now coaches Bross at WOGA alongside Valeri Liukin. Mustafina is now coached by Alexander Alexandrov, who moved back to Russia in 2008 after 15 years in Texas.

If both gymnasts hit, the battle should be for the bronze, and there are plenty of gymnasts capable of a podium finish this evening.

Let's take a look at the top eight qualifiers to the women's all-around final:

Qualification Rank/ScoresVTUBBBFXTotal
1.Aliya Mustafina15.60015.30014.93314.83360.666

Aliya Mustafina
Strengths: Difficulty, artistry, toughness
Weaknesses: Exhaustion, execution

Mustafina, the daughter of an Olympic bronze medalist in wrestling, has shown herself to be an absolute warrior this year. She was a rock during the team final, pulling the team to gold after her two teammates missed their bars routines. She tallied 60.932 in the team final, even higher than her first-place effort in qualification.

But Mustafina has already competed two full all-around competitions in Rotterdam, and may be nearing exhaustion. Her planned difficulty is higher than any of her competitors attempt, giving her a small cushion to commit a few mistakes.

Artistically Mustafina is lovely, but she tends to lose leg form on her twisting elements, and her feet could be cleaner on uneven bars. However, she's already cleaned up considerably from just a few years ago, particularly on her tap swing and release moves on bars.

Qualification Rank/ScoresVTUBBBFXTotal
2.Rebecca Bross14.71614.93315.26614.16659.081

Rebecca Bross
Strengths: Difficulty, toughness
Weaknesses: Injury

Bross, the U.S. champion, has four strong events. She's been hampered by a leg injury, however, and did not do vault in the team final. After falling in last year's final to finish a disappointing second, no doubt she will be gunning for gold in Rotterdam.

Qualification Rank/ScoresVTUBBBFXTotal
3.Alexandra Raisman15.03314.13314.76614.38358.315

Alexandra Raisman
Strengths: Difficulty
Weaknesses: Execution, uneven bars

Raisman, a first-year senior, was a surprise third in qualification. She put up three solid routines in the team final as well. However, her execution is sketchy, particularly on uneven bars. If she decides to upgrade to a Yurchenko 2 1/2 on vault, she could challenge for higher than third.

Qualification Rank/ScoresVTUBBBFXTotal
4.Jiang Yuyuan14.73315.20014.33313.83358.099

Jiang Yuyuan
Strengths: Experience
Weaknesses: Inconsistency

Jiang's goof on uneven bars proved costly to China in the team final. Her vault and uneven bars can bring huge scores if she hits, but she has proven less reliable on balance beam. She's capable of a big score on floor exercise, where she was a 2008 Olympic finalist, but earned a sub-14 in qualification.

Qualification Rank/ScoresVTUBBBFXTotal
5.Huang Qiushuang14.60015.66614.46613.33358.065

Huang Qiushuang
Strengths: Uneven bars
Weaknesses: Balance beam, consistency

Huang should outscore the field on uneven bars if she hits, but her miss in the team finals was another expensive error for China. She can outdance everyone on floor exercise as well, but her tumbling is not strong enough to challenge the other competitors. Vault is solid, but she's been inconsistent on balance beam.

Qualification Rank/ScoresVTUBBBFXTotal
6.Ana Porgras13.83314.73315.26614.06657.898

Ana Porgras
Strengths: Artistry, balance beam
Weaknesses: Vault

The stunning Porgras is a favorite of both the fans and the judges, but she'll be hampered by relatively simple vault of Yurchenko full. No doubt she has a harder one in the works, and her coaches are smart not to risk it yet. However, her other three events are capable of big scores. She's particularly outstanding on balance beam, and will be nearly impossible to beat in the final if she hits.

Qualification Rank/ScoresVTUBBBFXTotal
7.Lauren Mitchell14.73313.70014.96614.46657.865

Lauren Mitchell
Strengths: Experience
Weaknesses: Uneven bars, inconsistency

Mitchell was fourth in 2009 by just a fraction, and has increased her difficulty since then. She's been more inconsistent than usual lately, however, falling off beam in the team final in Rotterdam and in preliminaries at the recent Commonwealth Games. Her uneven bars needs some work to be competitive, but she's upgraded to a double-twisting Yurchenko on vault.

Qualification Rank/ScoresVTUBBBFXTotal
8.Tatiana Nabiyeva15.46614.70014.33313.06657.565

Tatiana Nabiyeva
Strengths: Difficulty, toughness
Weaknesses: Execution, inconsistency

Nabiyeva could help Russia finish 1-2 if she hits. But her sometimes sloppy execution costs her valuable points, and she crumbled on uneven bars under the pressure of the team final. But Nabiyeva can also deliver beautiful moments in her gymnastics, and she is a fierce competitor.

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