There are advantages and disadvantages to being part of a team so strong that it is nearly impossible to determine who its star is. This is the position the United States Women’s Gymnastics Team finds itself in today.
On the one hand, the three gymnasts (Jordyn Wieber, Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas) who competed in all four events during the qualifying round today did their job – along with specialists Kyla Ross and McKayla Maroney – putting the US in first place going into team finals. On the other hand, there is a rule that limits only two gymnasts per country to qualify to all around finals and each of the event finals, too, in order to prevent a medals sweep from happening (like it did with the Romanians in Sydney). As the result of this rule, Jordyn Wieber will not be competing in the All Around finals. Why not? Because teammates Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas were stronger in the qualifying round than Jordyn was.
There is less than half a point separating the three American gymnasts. It is heartbreaking for Jordyn – she is the reigning World All Around Champion and she has been the focus of so much media attention for the past two years – but I just can’t help but be so happy for Aly and Gabby, too. They have worked just as hard as Jordyn and are just as deserving of the opportunity.
The big question has to do with the rule. Is it fair? Wieber is not the only athlete affected by it. Russia’s Anastasia Grishin, China’s Yoa Jinnan and Great Britain’s Jennifer Pinches are affected too. What do you think?