Olympic Preview: Women's Qualification, Subdivision 5
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Three-time Olympic champion Romania look ready to shake things up as the fifth subdivision concludes the women's Olympic qualification.

The final session is the most nerve-wracking for those in positions to make a final, as they anxiously await their fates to see if they indeed advance or are bumped out at the last minute.


Catalina Ponor (Romania)

Mixed Group 5: Vault

Mixed Group 5 includes gymnasts from four continents. Vietnam's first world medalist, Pham Thi Ha Thanh, will need to risk her most difficult vaults if she wants to reach the final in London.

This rotation also includes Dutch gymnast Celine van Gerner, who fought a storied legal battle to reach London, as well as University of Denver gymnast Simona Castro (Chile) and the elegant Saša Golob (Slovenia).

Japan: Uneven Bars

A thrilled fifth at the 2008 Olympics, the Japanese women could reach the team final again. The team will rely on veterans Koko Tsurumi and Rie Tanaka, who will need a more inspired performance than their male compatriots gave in Saturday's qualification.

Mixed Group 8: Balance Beam

Spain's Ana Maria Izurieta is the top gymnast in Mixed Group 8, which also includes returning Olympian Sherine El Zeiny (Egypt). Lithuania's Laura Svilpaite has yet to live up to her junior potential, but still offers some of the most exquisite form and lines of any gymnast.

Singapore's Lim Heem Wei made history as an entrant for her island nation, while Ralitsa Mileva is the sole qualifier for the once powerful Bulgarian women.

Romania: Floor Exercise

The three-time Olympic champions drew an excellent rotation, starting on floor exercise and ending on balance beam. But like Team China and Yao Jinnan, the Romanian women have a question mark in Larisa Iordache. Iordache, one of the favorites to win the all-around title in London, is suffering from a heel injury. She is on the roster to do all four events, but may water down in qualification on vault, beam and floor. Simple tumbling could cost her spots in the beam and floor finals, but it is a risk the Romanian coaches may have to make to protect their star.

After finishing off the podium the past two worlds, the Romanian women look to challenge for more than the bronze they won in Beijing. The team has Olympic champions in Sandra Izbasa and Catalina Ponor, both of whom could win the floor exercise title. Ponor can win beam again as well, while Izbasa is a contender for a vault medal. The consistent Diana Bulimar and Diana Chelaru round out the squad.

The team has an Ana Porgras-sized hole on uneven bars, meaning Romania will need to rely on mistakes from Russia and the U.S. to win the team final. But with their exceptional consistency, a healthy Iordache and goofs from their rivals, the Romanian women could steal the show again in the three-up three-count team final.

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