The disappointment began Sunday night when U.S. Gymnast McKayla Maroney settled for a Silver Medal on Vault after landing on her butt, and continued on Monday and Tuesday night for Gabby Douglas, who faltered on both Uneven Bars and Beam. However, Raisman was able to end the journey on a positive note for the U.S. Gymnastics Team, earning Gold on the Floor Exercise and barely Bronze on the Beam.
The U.S. Gymnastics Team won the Gold Medal in the team competition, and Douglas won an All-Around Gold, so really anything after that is just gravy. However, it is sort of strange that the best All-Around gymnast in the world basically blew it on the individual events, but perhaps she really was just exhausted.
No one really expected Douglas to jump past the Chinese or Russian gymnasts on the bars, but coming in last was a bit of a surprise. She overextended on a handstand, and finished with a last-place score of 14.9.
On the bars, Gold went to the feisty (and usually crying) Aliya Mustafina of Russia, Silver went to China’s He Kexin and hometown fave Beth Tweddle of Great Britain earned the Bronze.
Last night, Douglas again had trouble. Though she fought hard, she ended up falling off the Beam during her routine. Russia’s Viktoria Komova (Silver All-Around) also fell, which meant that the 13.363 that Douglas received put her in second to last place.
China rocked the Beam, nabbing Gold and Silver from Linlin Deng and Lu Sui respectively. The real drama came from Raisman, who competed last. Catalina Ponor of Romania was in Bronze contention with a score of 15.066, as Raisman mounted. Her solid performance made her a shoe-in for the Bronze, but Raisman received a score of 14.933.
There was a rumble in the crowd from Béla and Marta Károlyi, and Raisman’s coach made a mad dash to put in an inquiry. The judges decided that they had not counted all of Raisman’s skills and granted her a new score of 15.066 – the same as Ponor. This time, instead of tying and settling for fourth as she did in the All-Around, the tie-breaker was in Raisman’s favor, and she pushed Ponor out of third place. For the tiebreaker, the judges look at the execution score, and Raisman indeed had the edge. However, knowing how much it hurt getting edged out of the All-Around, you have to wonder if Raisman knew what her actions did to Ponor.
Again, I don’t see the problem in just giving away two medals. Raisman had less deductions, but it also means her routine was less difficult. Shouldn’t Ponor be rewarded for trying the more difficult skills?
On the Floor Exercise, Raisman didn’t have to go through any tiebreakers as she beat everyone out with a dynamic routine and a score of 15.6 while clad in the most patriotic leotard imaginable. Ponor of Romania was right behind her with a 15.2, so I’m glad she was able to get a medal after getting the shaft on the Beam. Mustafina was happy to earn the Bronze, considering she stepped out of bounds.
Jordyn Wieber was also on the floor with her only chance of an individual medal, but sadly it wasn’t meant to be. She finished in 7th place, right above the Vault champion – Romania’s Sandra Raluca Izbasa – who fell flat on her face on her last tumbling pass. Izbasa took the Floor last, and I have to wonder how long Raisman waited after the wipeout before jumping for joy because she knew it meant the Gold was hers.
On the whole, it was a very successful outing for all of the U.S. Gymnasts at the Olympic games, except for maybe poor Wieber, whose nightmare began when she was edged out of the All-Around competition. Wieber and Kyla Ross were the only two who didn’t receive individual medals, but Ross wasn’t really supposed to be in the running. Wieber certainly tried her best, and both Wieber and Ross were essential in the U.S. winning the Team Gold.
Now that Gymnastics is over, I can return to my normal life!