At this year’s Olympics, gymnast Aly Raisman may have personally called attention to an issue within gymnastics that needs to be fixed.
Earlier today, Raisman received her first individual medal in the balance beam final, one she only received after a successful scoring appeal followed by winning a tiebreaker.
This was eerily similar to earlier in these Games when Raisman also tied for bronze in the individual all-around, but ultimately lost the medal to Russian Aliya Mustafina.
Both of these events, coupled with the fact that they happened to the same girl, show that the Olympic committee needs to reconsider its rules on what should happen in the place of a tie. In my opinion, ties should result in the awarding of two medals, as there really is no fair way to determine who should get it.
If there is a tie in all-around gymnastics, the lowest score of each gymnast is dropped and their scores are again compared. For Raisman, her score of 14.2 on the balance beam was nixed while Aliya Mustafina lost her 13.633 on the balance beam, which gave Mustafina the medal.
What that means is that Raisman was punished because she was equally good in all of the events, instead of allowing some events to carry other poor performances like Mustafina. While it seems hard to think of another way the tie can be broken, there is no way that a girl should lose simply because she was good in all of the events of the all-around competition, instead of great in some and poor in others. That seems to go against the spirit of a competition showcasing all-around talent.
The tiebreaker for the balance beam competition is just as questionable. In the event of a tie in the balance beam, the two gymnasts’ execution scores are taken into account without the difficulty level. This seems even more ridiculous than how they decide the all-around competition, because in this case they are essentially throwing out one of the two components of scoring.
Gymnast Catalina Ponor of Romania, the girl who lost the tiebreaker to Raisman, should not be punished because she chose a more difficult routine. There has to be a different way to deal with ties, as none of the current rules seem to be completely fair.
Unless the Olympic committee is willing to add some sort of extra competition to determine who will be awarded a medal in the event of a tie, both athletes should win. There really is no way to fairly decide who should come out on top.
If Raisman had lost both tiebreakers, there is no doubt that this issue would be dissected by every news agency covering the Games. Even though she won one, however, her story should be a lesson that the current system is broken and must be fixed.
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