TIME Man on the Wire

Grace and Power: Bending Over Backwards to Reach the Olympics

An event at London's North Greenwich Arena gives the world's best gymnasts one last opportunity to qualify for this summer's Olympic Games.

The routines of gymnasts are precious ones—a matter of inches separate a perfect performance from a complete disaster. From landing back handsprings on a four-inch-wide balance beam to sticking triple twists within the white border of a floor mat, gymnasts must balance aerobatics with precision.

An international competition at the North Greenwich Arena in London that runs through Jan. 18 is giving Olympic hopefuls one final chance to qualify across all three disciplines—artistic, trampoline and rhythmic—for this summer’s Games. It also affords Olympic photographers a chance to perfect their angles and hone their artist approach at a venue where qualifying athletes will perform in London this summer. Herewith, TIME presents a gallery of images from this week’s event, which creatively captures the power and grace that merit a perfect 10.

(For TIME’s daily coverage of the 2012 Olympics, visit: Time.com/Olympics)

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