US Olympic Gymnastics Team 2012: Disappointing Finish Will Make US Men Stronger

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IJuly 31, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 30:  John Orozco of the United States of America looks on in the Artistic Gymnastics Men's Team final on Day 3 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena on July 30, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The U.S. men's gymnastics team headed into the 2012 London Olympics with high hopes, but those hopes were shattered on Monday when the Americans finished fifth in the all-around final.

The final, which saw defending champion China capture gold, humbled America's two greatest young stars, Danell Leyva and John Orozco, and ended any chances for the U.S. men to capture their third consecutive Olympic medal.

The emerging talent of Leyva and Orozco, combined with returning Olympian Jonathan Horton, had people comparing this year's team to the team that won gold in 1984. But the youth ultimately let the 2012 men down.

While obviously disappointing, this isn't the end for this men's team. Leyva and Orozco should be back in four years and they are only going to be stronger in the next Olympics.

Shocks like this have a way of making the most promising Olympians better. Leyva and Orozco don't lack in the dedication department, and they figure to be back to make a real difference for the men in 2016.

In the Olympics, a lot can happen in four years. Great Britain, for example, hadn't medaled in the all-around final since 1912, but was four years removed from captain Louis Smith's bronze in the pommel horse in the Beijing Olympics. 

Smith's teammate, Daniel Purvis, even said before the final that Smith catapulted British gymnastics after 2008, via the Independent

There is much to be learned about the U.S. men's defeat on Monday, particularly for Leyva and Orozco, who appeared as green as they were in the final. The U.S. men placed first in qualifying, but perhaps a case of the nerves led to their collapse on Monday.

The next four years will be a test for Leyva, Orozco and Co. Will they fall even further into the doldrums or will they rise from the ashes to challenge for gold in 2016?

Sometimes you need the experience of the Olympics before all else. The talented U.S. men promise to be a force in the next Summer Games.


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