Women's Gymnastics 2012: McKayla Maroney Upset a Sign of Things to Come for USA

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Women's Gymnastics 2012: McKayla Maroney Upset a Sign of Things to Come for USA
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

McKayla Maroney’s unexpected loss may be a sign of things to come for the otherwise dominant U.S. women’s gymnastics team.

Her heart-wrenching silver-medal performance in the women’s vault final was as unexpected as Jordyn Wieber’s dismissal from the all-around final qualifier.

As a team these young Olympians have proved to be the best all-around gymnasts. Their style and technique in every event is a result of tenacious preparation and coaching with the goal of winning the all-around and team competitions.

They will go home to the United States as Olympic champions. However, they may fall short of adding more gold medals to their count when it comes to the individual mastery of specific gymnastics events.

Maroney was the lone “lock” for the U.S. in individual events. Her victory was more or less a sure thing and a gold medal awaited her after the vault finals Sunday afternoon.

After a crowd-rocking first performance, Maroney looked to be on her way to fulfilling those predictions.

But that didn’t happen.

Whether it was nerves or Maroney exhibiting her humanity, she slipped up and was docked in the score of her second performance. Luckily for her she still finished with silver because of her amazing opening routine.

Are you sure Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas aren’t capable of misstepping as Maroney did?

Raisman already stumbled with a medal on the line during the all-around finals. She could have, at least, garnered the bronze medal but instead tripped up on the balance beam and ended in a tie. She lost the tiebreaker.

Winning outright, mistake-free, would have been the better alternative.

As for Douglas, there isn’t much that she hasn’t done in these Olympics. She has two gold medals to show for her work, including the crown for women’s best all-around gymnast. She’ll compete in the uneven bars and balance beam events in the finals.

Sui Lui of China, the best balance beam gymnast of these Olympics, posted the highest score during the all-around competition. Beating her will prove to be Douglas’ most difficult task of the Games.

Douglas has been nicknamed the "Flying Squirrel" for her acrobatics on the uneven bars. In the qualifier round she came up short and landed in sixth place. Her all-around performance was much better, but Beth Tweddle of Great Britain wasn’t participating in the event. She’s regarded as the best in the world on the bars.

The chances are looking mighty slim for the U.S. women in the remaining events.

This doesn’t take away from the great job these girls have done in London, though. They should, and will be remembered for pouring their heart and soul into these Olympics in order to represent their country.

They are true champions.

Just not champions who will be adding anymore gold to their luggage for the trip home when all is said and done.

 

Follow me on Twitter @BigHoagowski for breaking sports updates and stories. Disclaimer: You will have to deal with my Cleveland sports obsession at times as well.

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