Jordyn Wieber and Gabby Douglas: Marking Their Place in US Gymnastics History
In the midst of the drama, the tiebreakers, and all the rules, two names will always stand out when someone discusses the “Fab Five” or “Fierce Five,” whichever nickname actually sticks.
It’s Gabby Douglas and Jordyn Wieber who were at the forefront of everything in Team USA’s gold medal.
Yes, I know that Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Kyla Ross all played their part, but it's the irreplaceable duo of Douglas and Wieber who will always be remembered most.
Douglas will go down in the American and African American history as the first American woman to win the individual and team all-around gold medal and the first African American to win the all-around.
Douglas’ success will inspire millions of young girls around the world, African American or not. People are going to look at her every morning while eating their Kellog’s cereal and they will be inspired by her strength, success and focus.
In an interview with CBS News, Mary Lou Retton, the first American all-around champion, discussed how Gabby was a trailblazer:
"She has inspired a whole generation of young African Americans to say, 'You know what I can do this too,'" Retton said. "I mean, I get goosebumps when I say it. 'I can do and be just like Gabby Douglas and do what she did, the world is at my doorstep.'"
I think her nickname should be changed from “Flying Squirrel” to “Golden Gabby."
Then there’s Wieber, who didn’t even make the all-around finals. Her situation was still a part of history and the fact that she missed a spot will pave the way for future gymnasts.
Hopefully the rule will be changed after all the drama and controversy. If not, though, Wieber can serve as an example about how to handle a rough situation with poise and grace.
It was hard for Wieber to get back up from missing out, but she knew that she had to play fair and that she was needed to help Team USA win the gold medal.
"I knew I had to redeem myself a little bit from the disappointment of the other day," Wieber said in an interview with St. Louis Today. "But, in the end, this was my ultimate goal—to win with this team."
Everybody was watching Wieber during team finals, trying to decide if she would recover from the all-around mess.
She proved herself with that very first vault—one of the best she’s ever done—that she was there to win.
Then she relaxed and performed to the best of her ability. I had never seen Wieber smile during a routine, and she did so in the middle of her floor routine of the time finals.
"Perform for this crowd," Wieber said she told herself to St. Louis Today. "I know how to do this. I've done this a million times. Just go and have fun."
The journey wasn’t exactly what Wieber had anticipated, and probably not what Douglas anticipated either, but they still made history.
The duo will forever be remembered when people think about the 2012 Olympic Games.
You can contact Emily Bayci by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @EmilyBayci.
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