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U.S. Olympic Gymnastics 2012: With Team Gold Secure, Wieber and Douglas Diverge

July 1, 2012; San Jose, CA, USA; Jordyn Wieber (right) and Gabrielle Douglas (left) hug after the 2012 USA Gymnastics Olympic Team Trials at HP Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE
Avi Wolfman-ArentCorrespondent IIJuly 31, 2012

Before Tuesday, we'd all wondered what they might do together.

The Fab Five—a group of gymnasts so talented and stylistically diverse that Olympic gold seemed only a matter of time.

And indeed, it was.

The Americans led wire-to-wire in Tuesday's women's team final, flexing their might on every apparatus and leaving little doubt as to which country reigns supreme.

And now that they have proved their collective strength, we confront a moment of poignant dissolution.

The band is breaking up.

McKayla Maroney heads to the vault final.

Jordyn Wieber is off to floor exercise.

Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman sprint toward the individual all-around final and a chance at glory everlasting (or at least endorsements everlasting).

Even on this day of elation, it's hard not to imagine how different the future looks for these five champions.

After her performance today—coupled with some shaky work by Russian challenger Viktoria Komova—Douglas heads to Thursday's all-around final as the gold-medal favorite.

Between now and then, we will hear countless homages to her smile, her flair and her peerless acrobatics.

If she wins, we'll hear another round—this chorus louder and more self-assured than the first.

Jordyn Wieber was supposed to be alongside her, jockeying for attention and medals every step of the way.

But after failing to qualify for the all-around final, her moment has passed. At least to the average American sports fan, Wieber fever is over—quarantined mere months after it arrived.

Such is the beauty and heartbreak of women's gymnastics.

Even in these moments of great triumph, the end is never far and the fall is always steep.

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