Russian gymnast Viktoria Komova entered the 2012 London Olympics looking to win an individual gold medal in the women's all-around competition. When 2011 world champion Jordyn Wieber (USA) failed to qualify for the finals, Komova's path to gold became even clearer. But she settled for silver after American Gabbie Douglas pulled off a stunning upset.
Komova had another chance to secure a gold medal by winning the women's individual uneven bars competition on Monday. She came in as the favorite after winning the event at the 2011 World Championships.
Komova's performance once again ended with disappointment as she failed to earn a medal.
Even after those two crushing defeats, Komova entered this morning's balance beam competition with yet another opportunity to salvage her experience in London. She was determined to win at least one gold in these Games, but she was unsuccessful a third time, failing to reach the podium for the second straight event.
The balance beam is not her strongest event and she had never won an individual medal in two previous attempts—at this year's European Championships and at the 2011 World Championships. But the 17-year-old seemed intent on atoning for her mistakes in the all-round competition and on the uneven bars.
Alas, it was not meant to be.
Komova will undoubtedly make another Olympic appearance in Brazil in 2016. But if she hopes to make up for a devastating first appearance in the Olympics, she'll need to develop a shorter memory and a tougher spirit.
One might be inclined to dismiss Komova's failures to youth and inexperience on the Olympic stage. But that didn't stop her 17-year-old, Russian teammate Aliya Mustafina from overcoming her own disappointing, bronze-medal performance in the all-around competition.
Mustafina recovered to win gold in the uneven bars, earning a bit of redemption for the Russian team.
Hopefully Komova will take the London Games as a learning experience and reclaim her standing as one of the world's best all-around gymnasts. Unfortunately, she'll have to wait four years to prove herself in Olympic competition.