For the third straight Olympic Summer Games, a U.S. gymnast has grabbed the coveted gold medal in the Women’s Individual All-Around. Last night, Gabby “The Flying Squirrel” Douglas nailed every one of the four Artistic Gymnastics events to take home the Gold Medal for the U.S.
Mary Lou Retton did it first in 1984, and then there was a lengthy drought for the U.S. in terms of the All-Around. Then, in 2004, Carly Patterson took home the Gold in Athens. Nastia Liukin repeated the triumph at the Beijing Games in 2008, and now Douglas joins the list. Douglas may be the fourth U.S. gymnast to take home the Gold, but she is the first-ever African-American gymnast to claim that title.
Aly Raisman was also on the roster last night for the All-Around competition (if you’ll remember she edged out Jordyn Wieber, who was forced to watch from the sidelines), but though she tied for third place she did not take home a medal. More on that later.
At the end of the competition the results looked like this: Gold, Douglas; Silver, Russia’s Viktoria Khomova; Bronze, Russia’s Aliya Mustafina.
The rotation was the same as it has been all of the previous nights with vault first for the top six gymnasts: Douglas, Komova, Mustafina, Raisman, China’s Deng Linlin (who was on the Gold Medal Team in Beijing) and some girl who never got any air time so after looking online I’m guessing was Romania’s Sandra Raluca Izbasa.
The U.S. has been solid on vault this year, and that streak continued as Douglas and Raisman went 1 and 2 scoring 15.966 and 15.900 respectively. The Russians aren’t nearly as strong, giving them a disadvantage after the first rotation.
Next up came the uneven bars, where the Russians were going to gain some ground. They went 1 and 2 here, with Mustafina and Komova receiving 16.1 and 15.966, respectively. Douglas pulled in a solid routine, and her third-place 15.733 kept her on top after the second rotation. Raisman had a bit of trouble – as expected- and her 14.333 led her to slip. Her two best events were still coming up.
On the dreaded beam, Douglas was solid again with a top-scoring 15.5, but Komova was right on her heels with a 15.441. Mustafina had a disaster that included falling completely off the beam, and her 13.633 left the door wide open for Raisman. Unfortunately, Raisman also had some issues. She didn’t fall, but she did put her hands on the beam, which is still a large deduction. She received a 14.2.
With nothing left but the floor, Douglas had the lead, but Komova had the potential to jump right in there. Douglas gave a stellar performance and received a score of 15.033. It was going to take a near-perfect performance for Komova to overcome Douglas, and she couldn’t do it. In the end, Douglas had an overall score of 62.232, beating Komova’s 61.973 by a narrow .259 of a point.
Meanwhile, Mustafina and Raisman were fighting for 3rd. Raisman had a fantastic floor routine, and her score of 15.133 was second only to Romania’s Izbasa, who I’m sure had a great performance that NBC must not have cared about because we didn’t see it. Mustafina’s 14.6 put her in sixth place on the floor.
If you’re keeping count, that means that the two finished with the exact same overall score of 59.566. I don’t remember this happening in the past, so it was unclear what was going to happen. Apparently, the rule for a tie (which even Raisman said in an interview that she didn’t know existed) is to throw out the lowest score (which was beam for both of them) and tally the scores again. Without the ugly beam score, coupled with that amazing uneven bars score, Mustafina went home with the medal. Though on the whole Raisman’s sores were more solid on each apparatus, Mustafina had higher highs and lower lows – and was rewarded.
In my opinion, they both should’ve gotten the Bronze medal. When you take out the lower score you are eliminating one of the events, and therefore it is no longer an All-Around score. Since they both had low beam scores, it’s like beam didn’t even happen, and competing in three events is by no means an All-Around competition. As All-Around gymnasts they are equals, so why does one get a medal over the other? In swimming people share medals, so why not in gymnastics? I’m also pretty sure in the Event Finals sometimes they share medals, so why not in the All-Around?
Rainsman was very classy and gracious in an interview I watched this morning, but she has to be dying a little bit inside. Though she was tied for third at the Olympic Games, she won’t receive an All-Around medal. I hope she comes out swinging next week in the event finals.
I also have to slightly wonder how Wieber feels. Yes, she’s happy for her teammates, bla, bla, bla. But, deep down inside her adolescent mind is she happy that Raisman failed to medal, or is she annoyed that she was beaten by a gal who couldn’t even medal. I’m sure we’ll never know, but I’m curious.
Congrats to Douglas and to Raisman, who in my book certainly deserves the Bronze. Stay tuned for the event finals next week, where all five of the Gold Medal Gymnastics Team will have a chance to compete.