The 2012 London Olympics in women’s gymnastics finished up Tuesday with the last of event finals. Aly Raisman proved herself twice during the competition and an explanation as to why Jordyn Wieber walked away empty-handed was revealed.
On the balance beam, like the uneven bars, all-around champion Gabby Douglas fell below par. She still earned two gold medals at the games, but her momentum dropped away during event finals. Known for inconsistency on beam, she fell midway through the set, knocking her out of medal contention. Nonetheless, she is the new reigning Olympic AA champ.
Raisman, with her trademark calm demeanor, performed well on beam, though not perfectly. Her sub-15.0 score was received with shock by the audience. Coach Mihai Brestyan immediately requested an inquiry that resulted in an increase of her difficulty score to 6.3, thereby tying her with Romania’s Catalina Ponor.
A tiebreak gave Raisman the bronze medal due to a higher execution score, leaving Ponor on the outs.
In an event that included only four teams, China, Russia, Romania and the U.S., China’s Deng Linlin and Sui Lu held fast for gold and silver, respectively.
Moving to floor exercise, the finalists included Romania (2), Russia (2), the U.S. (2), Italy (1) and Australia (1).
The Americans performed early on, with Wieber displaying some uncharacteristic errors, stepping out of bounds as well as less than perfect landings and some dance issues.
Wieber’s less than stellar performance may have been a combination of what her coach John Geddert reported to the press as a possible stress fracture in her right leg, a condition confirmed by Wieber’s father and the length of down time between the team finals and her last set on FX.
With Wieber’s hopes for a medal dashed, all eyes turned to Raisman, who delivered one more time. Her difficulty, the highest in the competition, gave her an edge over the rest. All she had to do was hit cleanly. The 18-year-old team captain did her job forcing everyone else to play catch up.
No one could.
In the end, it was Raisman’s 15.600 that gave her the gold outright. Ponor won silver and Russia's Aliya Mustafina placed for bronze after yet another tie situation with a disappointed Vanessa Ferrari from Italy.
With the Olympic Games over for artistic gymnasts, many exciting moments will be replayed in the months to come.
For Douglas, the dream of a lifetime is realized, Raisman finally gets her due and the U.S. team proved their talent and depth is leagues above the rest of the world.