USA Olympic gymnast Jordyn Wieber was royally snubbed on Sunday (7/29). Though she finished with the fourth-best score of all competitors, she will not be competing for all-around gold on Thursday. Wieber, the 2011 World All-Around Champion, was one of only four female gymnasts to score 60 points or above. But she failed to qualify for the individual all-around finals.
Confused? Pissed off? Understandable.
Wieber is not in contention for all-around gold Thursday because, of the three competitors that finished above her in the standings, two happen to be from the USA (Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas). And an Olympic rule limits each participating country to two finalists.
Maybe she was doomed before her first salute – only four reigning world champs have ever followed up with Olympic gold. Maybe she deserved the scores she received – she notably bobbled on beam and floor. But this was an epic disappointment for a gymnast who has literally worked her entire life for this.
I hurt for her, and I’m incensed that this rule is so limiting, penalizing countries with depth on their squads. The fact is, Wieber is not alone in her rule-based snubbing. The top 24 gymnasts in the Sunday qualifier were eligible to move on to the coveted all-around, but if a gymnast made the cut but ended up third on her own team, she was out of luck. This list notably includes Anastasia Grishina (Russia), as well as Jennifer Pinches (Great Britain), and Yao Jinnan (China). Here’s the complete list (with Q next to those who made the cut. Notice the missing Q’s next to the names in the true Top 24):
This is disgraceful to the sport of gymnastics and to the Olympic Games. The Olympics are supposed to be the greatest stage for sport there is. But when one of the best gymnasts in the world is denied a chance to compete for individual all-around gold while athletes who scored between five and six points (not tenths, points) less move on, something is terribly wrong.
After the men’s team faltered in their chance for team gold Monday, the American women will take their turn Tuesday. My gut tells me that Jordyn Wieber will come out on fire, ready to show the world that she is the reigning AA champ for a reason.