Everyone has their dream teams for this Summer’s Olympics.  I certainly have mine.  I also have some dream placements and story lines.    So here are the Top Ten Things that I would like to see happen in Beijing this August.   These are, of course, just my hopes, some more realistic than others.

  1. Ivana Hong (USA) winning a medal on Floor.  Yes, yes, I realize that Ivana may be a long shot for the US Team at this point and that her difficulty on some events leaves something to be desired  but her form and style are unbelievable and should be displayed on the world’s greatest stage.
  2. Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs winning a medal on Beam.  Her consistency on her series of aerial to two layout step outs is uncanny.  What a feat that would be for the Canadian Women’s Team and I can think of no better way for Carol-Angela Orchard to cap off her incredible coaching career with Canada. 

    Hopfner Hibbs - Photo Courtesy of photogymnastics.com

  3. Speaking of Canada, I would very much like to see Kyle Shewfelt make the Canadian Team and reclaim his Olympic Floor title.  He was spectacular in Athens 4 years ago to become the first Olympic Gold Medalist in gymnastics for Canada.   He has had an unbelievably tough year attempting to recover from two broken knees and it will be a victory for him just to compete in  Beijing.  But how great would it be to see him on top of the awards podium once more after all he has been through in the last year?
  4. I would like to see Cheng Fei (CHN)win the gold medal on Vault.   She is the clear favorite (and deserves to be) and I’d like to see her live up to the immense expectations in her home country this Summer.
  5. Just behind Cheng Fei on Vault should be Oksana Chusovitina.  Wouldn’t we all like to see her win a medal at these games?  I’m tempted to say that these will likely be her final games but I’ve learned that you never know with Chusovitina.  Don’t count her out.
  6. It would be fun to see someone totally unexpected take the Men’s All Around title.  All we hear about is Yang Wei and Paul Hamm.    I do enjoy seeing an underdog come in and steal the show (maybe Jonathan Horton?).
  7. Another favorite of mine for the Men’s All Around is Fabian Hambüchen.  I would really like to see him on the awards podium for both the All Around and High Bar.

    Photo courtesy of artisticsport.efcbrasil.com

  8. I don’t want to get into the Johnson vs. Liukin discussion about the Women’s All Around but there are several other folks I wouldn’t mind seeing up on the All Around podium: Dasha Joura (AUS), Jiang Yuyuan (CHN), Jade Barbosa (BRZ), Anna Pavlova (RUS) & Sandra Izbasa (ROM) to name a few.
  9. Now that I mention Anna Pavlova, it would be incredible to see her come away from Beijing with a gold medal.   After several heartbreaking fourth place finishes in Athens, I think she would be an ideal winner on Floor.  She has the whole package with her new routine.  Exquisite dance, strong tumbling… I don’t know if her difficulty is high enough to challenge for the gold but I sure hope so.

    Pavlova - photo courtesy of worldgymart.com

  10. And finally I would like for the judging and competitors this time around to be free from scandal.   With all the added scrutiny on our sport right now in the aftermath of Jennifer Sey’s much-talked-about book, I would like to see the media able to focus on the incredible achievements of the athletes rather than  incorrect start values, questionable coaches, possible eating disorders, contraband cold tablets, and the like.

So that’s my list of hopes.  What are you hoping for this Summer in Beijing?

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