USA Gymnasts Make Uncharacteristic Mistakes, Take Silver in Olympics

ThomasSenior Writer IAugust 12, 2008

After all the practice and preparation, Team USA looked set to win the gymnastics gold medal. Unfortunately, they didn't. I'm at a loss of words to explain my disbelief and shock. Maybe writing about it will help. 

Gymnastics has been the most talked about competition next to the USA Swim Team. Sports writers and non-sports writers alike have anticipated this moment for days now.

Finally, that day had come.

Would the USA prove once and for all that we were the best in women's gymnastics or would China come out and shock the world? The answer—China shocked the world.

The USA had almost a perfect competition, up to the point when Alicia Sacramone stepped up for her final round—the floor exercise. Imagine the pressure Alicia Sacramone must have had. It had to be awful. If she scored well, the USA would prove they were the best, and if she did not, China would take gold.

She went up for her final round and it looked like she would save the team. However, she fell victim of bad luck and fell onto the mat after her second tumbling pass, effectively giving China the gold medal. The Americans' chances of winning gold didn't get any help from Nastia Liukin or Shawn Johnson, as both of them also stepped out of bounds during their routines.

After the competition, Sacramone said, “No one else made mistakes, so it’s kind of my fault. I think everybody knows you always have good days and bad days. I just wish today was a good day.”

From then on, China's final round seemed more like celebrations than an actual routine. Each time they went up, the arena erupted into cheering for their Chinese heroines. In the end, China finished more than two points ahead of the USA and won gold.

Does China deserve the gold medal? Many members of the Chinese Women Gymnastics Team look younger than they say. I don't know if they really are, but many of them do look younger than 16 (I'm very good at guessing people's age and to me, these girls look 15 and younger). I'm not in any position to say for sure they're not the right age, but one can speculate.

Age doesn't matter right now though. What matters is that the USA lost the gold medal and China won. Does Sacramone deserve all the blame? I don't know. All I know is that no matter what happened, she's still my favorite gymnast and that the USA is as good or even better than China.

Martha Karolyi, the national team coordinator said, "We’re just as good as China. We made mistakes. They did not.”