Twenty-four women will compete for Olympic gold in this year’s individual all-around gymnastic finals. But despite scoring higher than 21 of these women in the qualifying round, Team USA’s Jordyn Weiber will not be one of them. Is this fair?
Many folks think not, and I’m inclined to agree. Though there are finals for individual skill areas like beam, floor and vault, the women’s all-around category is The Big One when it comes Olympic gymnastics. In the qualifying round Sunday, 60 gymnasts competed for one of 24 spots in the finals, and 17-year-old reigning world champion Weiber was considered a shoe-in.
After an uncharacteristically spotty performance, she was outscored by teammates Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman and Russia’s Victoria Komova, who received the highest individual score (60.632). But Weiber still managed to snag the fourth best score, with a 60.032.
Fourth best. Twenty four spots. What’s the problem?
That would be an Olympic rule that only allows two gymnasts per country to progress to the finals. Because Douglas and Raisman will already be representing team USA, Weiber — fourth highest score or not — is excluded from going on. Coach John Geddert called the two-gymnasts-per-country rule “stupid,” and lamented that:
“Kids train their entire life but because they’re the third best in their country, they don’t get to go to the dream competition.”
Weiber has opted not to speak to the media about it. On Sunday evening, she did tweet: ”Thank you all for your love and support. I am so proud of our team today, and I can’t wait for team finals!!”
As a team, the U.S. gymnasts received the highest overall score (181.863), qualifying them for tomorrow’s team finals where they will compete against Russia and China. The last time an American gymnastic team took the Olympic gold was in 1996.
The individual all-around finals will be held August 2nd. Of the 24 gymnasts who will compete, some scored nearly six entire points lower than Weiber in the opening round.