The U.S. women’s gymnasts are dominating the London 2012 Olympics.
Still, they have fallen victim to some of the most absurd rules in gymnastics history.
Jordyn Wieber was wrongfully denied a slot in the individual all-around finals, and Aly Raisman was unfairly left off the all-around podium.
Wieber was burned by the two gymnasts per country rule. Gabby Douglas and Raisman placed 2-3 in the all-around during prelims and claimed America’s slots. Wieber, who finished in fourth and is arguably better than both of them, was left watching from the stands.
Then when Raisman competed in the all-around, she tied for third place with Russia’s Aliya Mustafina. She didn’t receive a medal because of a tie-breaker rule that dropped the lowest score from each gymnast's four apparatuses.
Mustafina got to drop a fall on balance beam, while Raisman, who performed consistently on all four events, suffered.
Do these controversial rules need to be changed?
Each of these gymnasts faced their greatest heartbreaks within days of accomplishing their biggest successes. Talk about a whirlwind of emotions—it doesn’t get much crazier than that.
So who has it worse, Wieber or Raisman?
I vote for Wieber, because at least Raisman had the opportunity to compete.
Raisman can even say she made some mistakes during the individual finals. She flubbed on beam, which is normally one of her strongest events.
“I was more sad than angry,” Raisman said in an interview with Will Graves of the Associated Press. “I know I can definitely do a better beam routine than I did today,” she said. “I tried to come out and do the best I can.”
She was able to handle the disappointment better than Wieber, who couldn’t hold back the tears after her shocking news.
Wieber struggled to compose herself for TV interviews and couldn’t even manage interviews with the written press.
Wieber’s heartbreak was bigger, because she had no opportunity to prove herself when it mattered most.
Raisman hadn’t originally anticipated to win an all-around medal at all—anything Raisman accomplished was a major success. But Wieber’s disappointment left herself and the world heartbroken and dumbfounded.
Both gymnasts are victims forced to succumb to regulations created by the Federation of International Gymnastics. They did not lose out because of talent or work ethic but because of the fine print.
Hopefully the duo can find solace in one another and put the disappointment behind them and, instead, focus on the team gold medal.
Together they can argue about who had the worst end of the stick.