Olympic Gymnastics 2012: Aly Raisman Controversy Highlights Flawed Tiebreaker

Scott CarasikContributor IIAugust 3, 2012

Earning a medal and losing out on a tiebreaker is worse than having a tie in the first place.
Earning a medal and losing out on a tiebreaker is worse than having a tie in the first place.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Aly Raisman got left off the medal stand in the women's gymnastics all-around at the London Olympics due to a flawed tiebreaker. She finished in fourth behind Gabby Douglas, Viktoria Komova and Aliya Mustafina.

Gabby Douglas was the run away winner of the women's all-around and Viktoria Komova was a strong second. However, Aly Raisman and Aliya Mustafina tied through their four events leading to the tiebreaker that stripped Aly Raisman of a medal she earned. 

The tiebreaker takes the top three scores that the athletes earned and adds them into the tiebreaking score. It essentially penalizes the truly better all-around competitor and instead forces the competitors to be more specialized in three of the four apparatuses. 

How it broke down is Raisman and Mustafina both earned cumulative scores of 59.566 after four events. Raisman earned a 15.900 on the vault, 14.333 on the bars, 14.200 on the beam and 15.133 on the floor. Mustafina earned a 15.233 on the vault, 16.100 on the bars, 13.633 on the beam and 14.600 on the floor.

Then the top three events for Raisman added to a 45.366 where the top three events for Mustafina combined to a 45.933. However, this doesn't come off as a fair way to do things at all. The idea is to have the best all-around gymnast win, not the best of three out of four. 

There are many different options here as tiebreakers. One would be to take the event that both are the worst and have them re-compete in it. However, if their combined score rises above the second place competitor, are they then allowed to earn the silver?

That would make it too confusing. Another option could be to throw out the top and bottom scores in events. However, this just leaves the whole argument of two events versus four events being graded. Unfortunately there has to be a tie here.

The only way to truly fix this situation is to have duplicate medals for the spot that there is a tie. Ties are like kissing a sibling. However, seeing a tie and an additional medal being awarded is not the worst thing in the world.

The Olympics are about representing your country. They are about achieving success and earning a medal. Two young women earned a bronze medal in the women's all around in London. It's unfortunate that just one of them will be going home with one.


Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist and Trends and Traffic Writer for Bleacher Report. As a Featured Columnist, he covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL Draft. He is also the Falcons analyst at Drafttek and runs the NFL Draft Website ScarDraft.com and hosts Kvetching Draftniks Radio.