US Gymnast Jordyn Wieber's Stunning Letdown in London Olympics

Emily BayciContributor IIIJuly 29, 2012

It was the unthinkable, the unfathomable and unbelievable, the result absolutely nobody saw coming.

Jordyn Wieber did not make the all-around finals in women’s gymnastics.

She was surpassed by American teammates Aly Raisman (60.391) and Gabby Douglas (60.265), who placed first and second, respectively. Wieber took third by .233, as she scored a 60.032.

The defending world champion and U.S. national champion is left out of the all-around finals because of the "only two gymnasts per country" rule.

This decision is going to start a revolution. There were already people out there who thought the rule was bogus and now with no Wieber in the finals, everyone is going to speak their mind. Wieber’s score would be more than likely good enough to qualify if she competed for any other country. 

Wieber has been a longtime favorite to win the all-around gold, even after Douglas passed her at trials.

It’s not that Wieber terribly messed up, she simply got outperformed by her teammates. Raisman had the best day ever and deserves a spot in the all-around finals. She hit all four of her events, with no mistakes.

"It is really hard, of course, because we are best friends and I know how bad she wanted it," Raisman said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. "It is tough that only top two gymnasts go, but I know she is still a good friend and she will still be happy for me."

Wieber, on the other hand, had a plethora of small errors which added up. She was not her usual rock-solid self, as was written in an Associated Press article.

She had a form break on a handstand on uneven bars, and a few wobbles on balance beam. After Ross and Douglas both flew out of bounds on floor exercise, Wieber got way too much power on one of her tumbling passes and had to take a step back to steady herself. Only problem was, it was out of bounds, and the deduction all but ended any chance she had of staying in the top two.

One can say that the curse of the world all-around champion continues—quite often the defending world all-around champion does not win the Olympic gold. Examples include Shawn Johnson,Svetlana Khorkina, Maria Olaru. The last gymnast to win the world gold and then Olympic gold was Ukraine’s Lilia Podkopayeva in 1995-1996.

However, most of these gymnasts still won Olympic all-around medals and, with the track record Wieber has, no one ever even thought she wouldn’t make the podium—let alone the finals.

There was plenty of speculation that Douglas or another top gymnast would pass Wieber on the medal stand, but never that she wouldn’t contend for gold. NBC’s coverage has been focused around Wieber as the machine behind Team USA.

All week long, Wieber and Douglas have been answering questions about their rivalry and who would win the all-around gold. Rasiman was considered a non factor.

Wieber may make the event finals on floor, as she currently stands in fourth place with two qualifying sessions remaining. That is her shot at an individual medal and, really, that medal is Raisman’s to have because floor is her main event.

But maybe they will do a trade-off. No one really expected Wieber to win an individual medal because her strength is how she’s strong on all four rotations and rarely errs.

Now Wieber’s best chance at Olympic gold is in the team final and hopefully this will push her to lead Team USA. Now comes the time where the true question is put to the test: is the quest for the team gold or the individual one?

Obviously, Wieber is going to say that she wants the team gold that’s why she is here. But there’s no denying that she is beyond disappointed—her goal has always been the all-around gold medal.

"It has always been a dream of mine to compete in the all-around final for the Olympics, but I'm proud of Aly and Gabby," she said in a statement.

In an interview with NBC Sports, the U.S. national team coordinator Marta Karoyli said she was very worried about Wieber.

"You try to find words because it's almost like someone passes away, and what do you say?" Karolyi said. "But the fact is the fact. She did her best and she was edged by her teammates."


Reports on Twitter show that she started sobbing when she found out she didn’t make the finals and turned away from the cameras to hide her tears. Then she did TV interviews, but didn’t talk with the written press, according to NBC’s Alexa Ainsworth.

Who can really blame her?