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Gymnastics Tie Breaker Rules: Aly Raisman Deserved 4th Thanks to Quirky Rule

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 02:  Alexandra Raisman of the United States of America reacts after she competes on the balance beam in the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Individual All-Around final on Day 6 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena on August 2, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Eric BallFeatured ColumnistAugust 2, 2012

Another day, another Olympic controversy regarding the rules.

While America is still gushing over Gabby Douglas and her outstanding gold medal performance in the women’s all-around gymnastics final, fellow red, white and blue teammate Aly Raisman is left wondering what could have been.

Douglas won gold with an overall score of 62.232, and Russian Viktoria Komova rightfully earned second with a final score of 61.973.

That’s when things get tricky.

Russian Aliya Mustafina and Raisman both recorded a score of 59.566, but Mustafina received the bronze medal.

Why did this happen?

Unfortunately for the Americans, a tiebreaker rule stated by the official Olympic rule book was in Mustafina’s favor. Here is the description:

Should there be ties in the team finals in London, the lowest apparatus score will be dropped and the remaining scores added. If that doesn't break the tie, additional apparatus scores will be dropped, one at a time, until there is a winner. If no winner emerges, the tie stands.

Mustafina’s lowest scoring event was a 13.633 on the balance beam. Raisman’s lowest was a 14.200 on the balance beam. So when both of those scores were dropped, Mustafina had a 45.933 and Raisman had a 45.366. As a result, Mustafina wins the tiebreaker and a bronze medal.

So, essentially, Mustafina won because her three best scores (led by 16.100 on the uneven bars), were better than Raisman’s.

Mustafina received the highest score of any contestant in the uneven bars, while Raisman’s best finish was second place in the both the vault (15.900) and floor (15.133). Her lowest finish was 10th overall, while Mustafina was 18th.

Make sense?

Raisman lost because her top scores weren’t as good, despite having the better all-around performance. It’s a tough pill to swallow, and the pain Raisman is surely feeling right now won’t be going away anytime soon, but rules are rules.

Mustafina was rewarded for her incredible marks in select events and rightfully earned the medal in the eyes of the Olympics

 

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