Jordyn Wieber's failure to make the all-around finals at the Olympics sent shock waves through the gymnastics world. Immediately fingers started pointing as to why the defending world all-around champion won't get to compete for that title at the Olympics.
Bela Karolyi, the longtime gymnastics coach and husband of U.S. team coordinator Martha Karolyi, blamed the lineup.
"This shouldn't have happened," said Karolyi, the husband of current national team coordinator Marta Karolyi. "This is a definite line-up mistake."
In Bela Karolyi's view, Wieber should have competed last. The last gymnast competing is "supposed to be the best on the team."
The problem with Karolyi's logic? At floor exercise, Aly Raisman is the best. She won the national championship on floor in June, and a bronze medal for it at the world championships. If the day had been a disaster and the U.S. needed a big score, the rock-steady Raisman would have been the perfect gymnast to perform.
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Wieber's coach and the coach of Team USA, John Geddert, talked about the low scores Wieber received throughout the day.
"It was a decent bar set. Obviously the judges didn't see it with the same eyes. But, that's their job, not mine. Beam, similarly, she got no credit for anything. They took everything away. That's never happened, ever. Floor was a decent set and her normal score on floor would have gotten her in the all around. That's the lowest floor score she's gotten... ever. And again, they gave her nothing in her floor routine that was questionable."
"Yeah, and when it's all over she'll probably be in the top 5 all around score on an okay day. It's a dumb rule. Some of the FIG rules are absolutely ridiculous. The 3-up-3 count rule is just the stupidest rule I've ever heard for children's sports. One kid is going to make a mistake that costs her country a medal, and they have to live with that the rest of their life. So the FIG really needs to start rethinking some of these things. A kid's training their entire life and because they're the 3rd best in their country, they don't get to go to the dream competition. I just, I don't know where they're coming from. And that's about as negative as I'm getting today."
And he's right. The rule is ridiculous. It's meant to create diversity in the all-around pool, but all it does is penalize countries with strong programs. Diversity in competition is important and has its place in the preliminary rounds, but the gymnasts allowed to compete for the prestigious title of all-around Olympic champion should be the best.
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The person who is not pointing any fingers is Wieber herself. The 17-year-old released this statement:
"It's a bit of a disappointment. It has always been a dream of mine to compete in the all around final of the Olympics but I'm proud of Aly and Gabby and happy that they reached the all around and that I helped the team get to the finals. I think from the beginning we were all looking very strong. It was always going to be close between the three of us doing all around and in the end it is what it is."
The good news for Wieber is that she can still win an individual medal. Her floor exercise score qualified Wieber to its event final. After Tuesday's team competition, she will compete again on Tuesday, Aug. 7.
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