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Jordyn Wieber Controversy: John Geddert Spot on with Feelings Towards Odd Rule

Jul 29, 2012; London, United Kingdom; Jordyn Wieber (USA) cries after her last routine during the women's qualifications during the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY
Tim KeeneyContributor IJuly 30, 2012

Jordyn Wieber belongs in the women's individual all-around final.

She knows, Gabby Douglas knows, Aly Raisman knows it, the majority of the world's population knows it and most recently, Wieber's coach John Geddert made it clear he knows it as well (via The Washington Post):

"The coach of reigning world champion Jordyn Wieber says it’s an “injustice” the American won’t be included in Thursday’s Olympic all-around finals...

...John Geddert, who has coached Wieber during her entire career, called the rule ridiculous, saying it penalizes countries that have deep rosters."

Obviously there's going to be a little bit of favoritism here. Geddert probably isn't going to come out and say, "Yeah, my student really messed up. She deserves to go home."

Nonetheless, the adjectives he uses to describe this unjustifiable rule are spot on.

The rule, of course, is the one that limits the finals to just two gymnasts from each country, meaning that even though Wieber finished fourth in the individual all-around in qualifying, she didn't advance to the Top 24 because Raisman and Douglas finished second and third, respectively. 

So instead of Wieber, a former world champion in the sport, participating in the finals, you now get to see a girl who scored almost six points below Wieber compete in an event she likely has no chance at. Yay.

It's not just Wieber who was done in by this oddity.

Anastasia Grishina finished 12th overall, Jennifer Pinches finished 21st and Jinnan Yao finished 22nd, but all of them had two teammates who were slighty better, meaning someone with a lower score advanced instead. 

If someone could tell me the point of this rule, I would love to hear it. 

I understand the urge to have as many different countries competing in the finals as possible, but if only the best 24 scores advanced from Sunday's action, 14 different nations would have been represented.

That's almost double the amount of countries that advance to most gold medal events. For example, in swimming, each event has just eight athletes or teams going up against each other.

Hence, the diversity in gymnastics could do a lot worse. It doesn't need a silly rule to assure that variety. 

With that being said, I can't think of any other reason why this rule—one that prohibits and punishes individuals for being a part of a great team or country—would ever be in place.

In an event that seeks to find the best overall gymnasts, shouldn't the best overall gymnasts compete in the finals? 

Luckily for these ladies they still get to compete in the team competition, but that's an unfortunate consolation prize for something they never should have been consoled for in the first place. 

 

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