Olympic Gymnastics 2012: Top Contenders Who Failed to Live Up to Hype

Tony GiardinaCorrespondent IAugust 1, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 30:  Danell Leyva of the United States of America chalks his hands 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

Coming into the 2012 London Olympics, both American gymnastics teams were trying to erase extended gold medal droughts in team competition. Expectations were high as two very talented groups were sent to London on behalf of the US.

However, much of the anticipation and excitement this week has led to disappointing results. Here are the gymnasts whose expectations were higher than their level of performance. 


Danell Leyva

The men's team hadn't won since the games were held in Los Angeles in 1984. They were strong contenders this year for the gold, and even secured the top spot in qualifying, due in large part to Danell Leyva.

Leyva qualified for the individual all-around final with a score of 91.265, the best among all competitors in the London games. This helped the US gain the top spot heading into the finals, and solidified Leyva's position as one of the best in the sport.

When it came time for the team finals, Leyva put the US in a big hole early. He slipped off the pommel horse, and a score of 13.400 in the second rotation created a deficit the team could not overcome. He also scored a 15.366 on the parallel bars, which isn't a terrible score, but it was only tenth-best among all participants in the event.

Leyva did somewhat redeem himself with a Bronze in the individual all-around competition, but the team's Olympic drought drags on.


John Orozco

If Leyva was the beginning of the men's team downfall, Orozco was the middle and the end. Another talented all-around gymnast, he finished fourth overall in the qualification round. 

After Leyva's woeful performance on the pommel horse, Orozco decided to do him one better by scoring a 12.733. His score landed him the second-lowest score of the 24 competitors in the event. 

Orozco then put the nail in the coffin when he landed his vault sitting down. 

He finished eighth in the individual competition, but his two errors in the team event proved costly and led the US to a disappointing finish. 


Jordyn Wieber

The women's team last took home a gold medal in 1996, though they have had two consecutive gymnasts win the individual all-around gold medal in Carly Patterson and Nastia Liukin.

The US put on a dominating performance in the team competition to take the gold medal in London. Their dominance was aided in part by solid effort from Jordyn Wieber, but this will be the only all-around medal she will be winning.

The reigning all-around world champion will miss the individual competition because she finished third on her team in qualifying, behind Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman. Wieber held the best chance at giving the US three straight golds in the event, but she will have to watch her teammates from the sidelines instead.