2012 Summer Olympics

USA Gymnastics: Impressive Trip to London Still a Monumental Disappointment

SAN JOSE, CA - JULY 01:  Jordyn Wieber gets ready to compete on the beam during day 4 of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team Trials at HP Pavilion on July 1, 2012 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Josh SchochAnalyst IIIAugust 6, 2012

The U.S. Women's Gymnastics team won gold medals in the team and individual all-around competitions, so it was obviously a successful trip, right?

Wrong.

The American women could have, and should have, done better during the 2012 Olympics.

The only surprises on the American side were that Jordyn Wieber did not qualify for the individual all-around competition, Aly Raisman just missed the bronze and McKayla Maroney failed to win the gold on the vault.

While the team won just the second team all-around gold in U.S. history and Gabby Douglas won the individual all-around gold by 0.259 points, we expected the team to do these things.

And more.

We also expected Wieber to finish in the top two in the individual all-around. We also expected Maroney to win gold on the vault by a wide margin.

We expected too much.

Part of the reason winning gold in the two biggest competitions in gymnastics isn't enough for a "successful" trip in the minds of U.S. fans (including myself) is that we always want more. Whenever one of our athletes wins a silver instead of a gold, like Maroney did, we only think of how she should have done better.

This mindset contributes to why the performance of the U.S. women is a disappointment.

Jordyn Wieber was the reigning World Champion heading into the London Games, but she wasn't even in the top two on her team during qualifying. Not only did Gabby Douglas outperform Wieber like she did at trials, but Aly Raisman also surpassed her.

This was the first disappointment for fans. However, that wasn't the end of the individual disappointments.

Aly Raisman was the second American woman in the competition, and we knew that she still had a chance to win a medal. After a poor performance on the balance beam from Russian Aliya Mustafina, the door was left open.

Raisman was still in position to medal as she completed her floor routine. It was close, but we didn't know how close.

Raisman and Mustafina ended up tying for third, but a tiebreaker gave the Russian the medal, leaving Raisman empty-handed.

The third surprise came on Sunday, as specialist McKayla Maroney had her feet skid out from under her (per Associated Press release) and ended up finishing second.

Maroney was brought to London solely for the vault, and she was a heavy favorite to win gold. However, "Air Maroney" finished behind Sandra Izbasa, and the disappointment and frustration showed on her face when she was on the podium.

Yes, the U.S. team did well. Yes, they could have done better. Yes, we consider it a disappointment because they failed to win in almost every competition.

The trip to London for the women's gymnastics team was great, but with what was clearly the best team in the world, we expected excellence.

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