2012 Olympics: Biggest Disappointments from Day 9
The second Sunday of these 2012 Olympic Games saw success stories throughout the sports spectrum. However, for every gold medalist there are plenty more Olympians who fell short of expectations.
We examine these storylines each day, and unfortunately for a number of athletes, there are always plenty of underwhelming results to discuss. Let's take a look at the Olympians who walked away from an event scratching their heads on Sunday.
Slip Costs McKayla Maroney Gold on Vault
American gymnast McKayla Maroney entered Sunday's individual vault final as the clear gold-medal favorite. The 2011 world champion helped the U.S. squad secure team gold on Tuesday and is considered a global virtuoso on vault.
However, the 16-year-old couldn't stick the landing on her second of two attempts and slid into second place, settling for silver. If Maroney had managed to complete a beautiful handspring, she would have easily taken the gold medal that many marked down for her months ago.
Instead, Romania's Sandra Izbasa stepped to the top of the podium. Her average score of 15.191 points edged out Maroney's 15.050.
In the gymnastics world, this qualifies as a substantial Olympic upset.
“It happens,” Maroney told The New York Times. “It’s gymnastics, and you can’t be perfect. Sometimes, things don’t go as planned. I don’t blame it on anything else. I just messed up.”
Roger Federer Sees Gold Medal Hopes Swept Away
For all of Federer's career accomplishments (and there are many), he still does not own an individual Olympic gold medal. The 30-year-old Swiss superstar earned Olympic gold for doubles play at the 2008 Beijing Games, but he fell short in perhaps his final opportunity to earn Summer Games supremacy in singles action.
Federer faced London hometown hero Andy Murray in Sunday's finals match. It wasn't even close.
Murray defeated Federer in straight sets (6-2, 6-1, 6-4) at Wimbledon, the site where Federer defeated Murray in four sets earlier this summer.
Overall, Federer has defeated the Brit in three Grand Slam finals. The tables were turned on Sunday and it was astounding to see Federer go down in such fashion.
"(Murray) never looked back," Federer told the Associated Press. "His credit for getting in the lead and using the crowd to come through. He did an unbelievable job."
400-Meter Reign Is over for U.S. Men
The men's 400-meter dash final is set. Shockingly, it will take place without an American.
Bryshon Nellum's absence isn't necessarily a surprise, but the fact that medal favorites LaShawn Merritt and Tony McQuay failed to qualify is quite alarming. Especially when you consider that the race has been won by an American runner at each Olympic Games since 1984.
Merritt is the defending Olympic champion, but he'll watch the finals from the stands. At least he'll have his teammates to keep him company.
For more on this startling development, check this out.
Novack Djokovic Denied Bronze Medal
On a day when tennis' top-ranked player in the world was swept in the gold-medal match, the globe's second-ranked competitor didn't even place.
Djokovic was defeated by Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro in the singles bronze medal match, which was interrupted by rain. The Serbian superstar succumbed to Del Potro, 7-5, 6-4, failing to match his bronze-medal performance at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Del Potro, who lost a marathon match to Roger Federer on Friday, rebounded with a great performance. Djokovic didn't seem to happy with himself afterward.
"Disappointing end, but I enjoyed it," he told USA Today. "It was a pleasure playing for my country."
U.S. Women See Medal Drought Continue
The three-meter Olympic springboard competition has not been kind to the female divers of America. Cassidy Krug and Christina Loukas finished in seventh- and eighth-place in the event final on Sunday.
That extends a significant streak for U.S. divers. American women are suffering through a medal drought in the event.
No U.S. woman has earned a medal in this specialty since 1988.
Russian Jumper Says Goodbye to Games in Underwhelming Fashion
Lebedeva, a five-time Olympic medalist, may have reached the end of her athletic career on Sunday. The Russian landed in 10th place in the final triple jump final.
She earned silver medals in the event at both the 2004 Athens Games and 2000 Sydney Games. Lebedeva's resume also includes three world championships.
According to Reuters, the 36-year-old has decided to retire in the aftermath of an underwhelming performance.
The Brits' Volleyball Struggles
Boy oh boy, the Brits need to reassess their Olympic volleyball program.
The women's team ended its 2012 run on Sunday with a loss to Japan. GB is left out of the final eight qualified teams and struggled against Japan, losing in straight sets (25-19, 25-14, 25-12).
"We competed at times but it wasn't enough," team captain Lynn Beattie told the BBC. "The main thing we can take is competing against the best teams in the world, that's an experience in itself."
The host's men's team is already knocked out of medal competition.
With so much success across the spectrum this summer, it's especially disheartening to see these teams struggle so mightily.
Asafa Powell Unable to Keep Up with Fellow Countrymen
Jamaican sprinters had a tremendous Sunday on the track. Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake earned gold and silver, respectively, in the 100-meter dash.
Initially, there had been hopes that Jamaica could sweep the event, as Asafa Powell brought plenty of potential into the 2012 Olympic Games. He was a member of the nation's 4x100-meter relay team and once held the event world record.
Unfortunately, an injury derailed his journey in London.
Powell pulled up with a groin injury during the 100 final, completeing the race in 11.99 seconds.
"It was my old groin injury that reoccurred," Powell told Reuters. "I felt it and it started to go. You never want to get injured, but it is a bit of a disaster when it happens in the Olympic final."