Jordyn Wieber went into the 2012 Olympics with high aspirations, but her end results were about as disappointing as anything she could have imagined.
Wieber didn't earn a single individual medal. She ended up playing second fiddle to Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas, who both had their moments in the spotlight.
Douglas had her moment of triumph when she earned the gold medal in the women's all-around. Raisman failed to medal in that event, but she later earned a bronze medal on the balance beam and a gold medal in the women's floor exercise.
All the while, Wieber was cheering them on, likely wishing deep down inside that it was her up on the podium instead.
She told reporters, via Dan Whitley of AOL.SportingNews.com, "Umm, overall I’m disappointed. But leaving with a gold medal is more than I could ask for.”
Whitley then writes, "She wore her Brave Face pretty well. But underneath, the disappointment had to hurt far worse than her right leg."
The pain he's referring to is from an apparent stress fracture in her right leg, and according to Gymnastike.org, head coach John Geddert said:
There are all the signs of a stress fracture. She’s had soreness and now there is a lump there. So, she’ll be in a boot tomorrow, finish out the Games, get an x-ray, and then an MRI. It's the same leg as her heel injury. She’s been having problems since training camp.
Before the Olympic trials, Wieber was the best all-around female gymnast on the U.S. team. She was the reigning world champion in the all-around and a threat to medal on the balance beam and in the floor exercise. She was also a three-time U.S. all-around champion, and it was a shock when Douglas won the all-around at the Olympic trials.
Personally, I figured it was just a minor hiccup.
I fully expected Wieber to take back her crown at the 2012 Olympics. If any American was going to win the all-around over the Russian duo of Viktoria Komova and Aliya Mustafina, it was going to be her.
Douglas was capable of putting on a show, of that there was no doubt, but Wieber had the experience and poise to handle the pressure. Besides, nobody outside her inner circle knew she had been battling an injury.
According to Whitley's report:
The ache down by her ankle started a few weeks ago. Wieber had to cut back her training, though few people knew. The first hint came last week when she wasn’t quite her world-champion self in the team all-around.
No other U.S. gymnast on the women's side lost more in the 2012 Olympic Games than Wieber. She was at the pinnacle of her sport only months before London, and suddenly, she's lost in the shadows of Douglas and Raisman.
It's a long ways to fall, but if anyone is capable of pulling herself back up, it's Wieber. After she watched Raisman win the gold medal for her excellent floor exercise, Wieber told reporters, via Whitley's report, "I learned a lot about how strong I am."
She's only 17 years old and still a senior in high school. The question she needs to answer now, after experiencing such a painful fall from grace, is whether she's finished with the sport or if she has another Olympic run in her.
Personally, I hope for the latter.