SAN DIEGO, July 31, 2012 – Even though it appears that the U.S. women’s gymnasts had the gold medal well in hand before the final rotation on the floor exercise, no one dared to start celebrating too early.
The judging controversy at the men’s team final that caused a reversal in the finals results with the British team dropping from silver to bronze and the Ukrainian team losing their medal made everyone cautious.
Then the Americans’ closest competitors, the Russian Federation, had a total meltdown in their last rotation on the floor exercise with several serious falls and missed skills.
So while the Americans would have to run into a complete disaster with their floor exercise routines to lose the gold, nothing can be taken for granted it seems at these Olympic Games.
The women sparkled in their routines as brightly as their brilliant red sequined uniforms, instantly becoming celebrities, athletic and Olympic royalty for their rest of their lives.
The team’s steadiest performer and highest qualifier in the floor exercise, Aly Raisman, burst into tears as she finished her floor exercise, knowing the medal would be theirs. The Americans won by a large margin over the fading Russian team, who were disappointed with their silver performance. Romania received bronze, their tenth consecutive team medal in the Olympic Games.
The decisive victory took some sting out of Jordyn Wieber’s failure to qualify for the all-around competition. She performed a brilliant floor exercise and for the first time in these Games, she did it with a smile on her face. She had to concentrate as the audience was cheering wildly for British gymnast Beth Tweddle performing on the uneven bars at the same time.
The gold medal is the second ever team gold for the U.S., and the first since the “Magnificent Seven” team won in Atlanta in 1996. Shannon Miller, a member of the 1996 team commentating for NBC Olympics live feed online, said there is so much expectation and pressure on these young athletes that they will be feeling relieved as much as joyful. Miller said the women would now have to steady themselves and concentrate on the all-around and the event finals to come over the next week.
While no medal for Great Britain, the entire crowd stayed for the medal ceremony and cheered for all the accomplished young women on the platform.
The women now move onto the all-around competition on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. Eastern Time, with Gabrielle Douglas and Aly Raisman in contention. The individual event finals take place from Sunday, August 5 through Tuesday, August 7.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She writes on professional cycling and covers the Sweet Science for Communities, along with other news in the sports world. Read more Ringside Seat in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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