Jordyn Wieber: How She Can Prove Critics Wrong Going Forward
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Most 17-year-old girls deal with passing the SATs, relationship drama and the occasional fight with their parents.
Jordyn Wieber is dealing with the weight of American women's gymnastics on her shoulders.
The teenager from DeWitt, Mich., was supposed to be the shining star of Team USA, but a few bobbles during Sunday's all-around qualifier cost her a spot in the final and cast a dark cloud over her status as the world's best all-around female gymnast.
It was a monumental blow for the 2011 World Women's All-Around Champion, as she finished fourth behind teammates Aly Raisman and Gaby Douglas in what should have been a crowning moment.
Instead, the girl who's not even old enough to vote is now facing heavy heat from media and fans for her failure.
According to Christine Brennan of USA Today, Wieber's uncharacteristic performance Sunday not only cost her a spot in the all-around final but also potentially millions of dollars.
"Industry analysts believe the U.S. woman who wins the women's individual all-around competition at these Games could make between $250,000-$500,000 a year for the next four years, then potentially six figures for several years thereafter."
For anyone, losing out on a six-figure salary would be a heartbreak.
Then again, should a 17-year-old girl be worried about that right now?
Wieber may have faltered in an event that should have been hers for the taking, but the Olympics isn't just about the individual—it's about your country.
Sure, we all wanted to see Wieber win.
What real American wouldn't root for a girl who should be worrying about applying to college instead of trying to win a gold medal for her country?
However, after an imperfect routine, Wieber's under the international microscope.
For her critics, I have one piece of advice: watch out.
After her disappointing performance, the typically unbreakable teenager was relegated to tears—a pretty normal sight for any failure, let alone for a young athlete under immense pressure.
Luckily for Wieber, she has the ultimate chance at redemption tonight in Team USA's showdown against Russia.
The battle for world gymnastics supremacy has been waging for the past few years between these two nations.
According to the Associated Press, the Russians won the world championship in 2010 before the U.S. reclaimed the title last year.
And true to form, America needs the swagger of its reigning world champ more than ever if it plans to end its gold-medal drought.
The only time the U.S. women's gymnastics team won a gold medal, Jordyn Wieber was just a year old.
The 1996 women's team—dubbed the "Magnificent Seven"—put on a historic run that has yet to be matched.
If Team USA has any hope of capturing its first gold medal in 12 years, it'll be up to Wieber to lead the way.
No pressure, kid.
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