Summer Olympic Games 1996 – 2012
The United States is set to take over as the leader in Olympic women’s gymnastics. After many years of dominance, Romania has failed to qualify for the team competition in Rio and its only opportunity for medals will come from Catalina Ponor in individual events.
Romania’s decline is nothing new – several other countries have slipped from Olympic heights onto the mat below. Few remember that Switzerland was once a major power, which won five gold medals in 1928, assisted by compulsory gymnastics lessons for all boys. However, it has only won one medal since 1952 and none at all in women’s events.
But fallen giants sometimes chalk their hands and jump back onto the bars. Look out for Swiss double European champion, Giulia Steingruber, as she seeks a first for her nation.
Next: Ball, hoop, ribbon and clubs – which countries bring the rhythm to gymnastics?