An Italian gymnastics coach has reminded Olympic host China of the possible home disadvantage due to pressure.
Enrico Casella, head coach of the Italian women gymnasts, told Xinhua that Chinese players must be strong-minded to cope with higher expectations piled on them competing on home soil.
Casella considered world champion Shawn Johnson and Anastasia Liukin, both from the United States, as biggest opponents to Italy's super star Vanessa Ferrari.
"I have to see if the Chinese can stand the mental pressure," he said.
"I prefer not to have the Olympics in Rome. Everybody will be watching her - I'm talking about Vanessa."
"If Rome holds the Olympic Games, she will (collapse). Here is better," he said.
Ferrari, 17, became Italy's first woman gymnast to win an all-around world title at the 2006 world championships in Aarhus, Denmark.
As many predict that host will top the Beijing Olympics medal table, Chinese sports officials have asked the media not to over-evaluate the Chinese delegation, saying that gold medals are not a must-be task.
Chinese gymnastics head coach Huang Yubin said earlier that his team felt nervous.
(Xinhua News Agency July 31, 2008)