The last time the United States Women’s Gymnastics Team brought home an Olympic team gold medal was 1996. The Magnificent 7 they called them, have gone on to live as legends in the gymnastics world, maybe even the sports world in general.
Today, there are five new legends.
The US team, composed of Jordyn Wieber, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross, and McKayla Maroney, have won gold in the London 2012 Olympic team compeition, beating out second place Russia by nearly FIVE. whole points.
It was a tight race up until the last event, the floor exercise. Russia, buckling under the pressure to surpass the strong US team, counted one fall and a balked tumbling pass by Grishina, who couldn’t tumble out of her full-twisting front step-out.
Afanasyeva tried to keep it together for Russia, but did not get enough lift on her last pass, a double pike, and fell nearly to her face. The Russian team fell apart before our eyes, and were all in tears on the sidelines.
The United States team, however, was rock solid. The format for competition was three up, three down, meaning all three scores counted. This format leaves no room for mistakes, but that didn’t phase the US team. Starting on vault, he women nailed three Amanars. McKayla Maroney nearly stuck her world-class vault for a huge 16.233, probably doing the best vault she has ever competed. Where the judges were able to find deductions remains to be seen.
On bars, Wieber led the women with a solid routine for a 14.666. She struggled a but on her Weiler kips and took a small hop on her dismount, but nonetheless got the team off to a good start. Ross’s 14.933, followed by Douglas’s huge 15.2 gave the women momentum, and allowed them to get their weakest event out of the way.
Beam did not give the women any trouble, as all three hit their sets with only minor bobbles. Ross led the women off with a solid set, and Douglas, who can sometimes be shaky on this event, nailed her routine with a step on her landing for a 15.233. Aly Raisman finished with a 14.933, most likely due to a small wobble and missed connection, lowering her start value. Russia’s Komova had many, many bobbles in her beam routine, and nearly landed off the mat on her dismount. Still, the judges seemed to have liked her routine as she put up a solid 15.033.
Going into the last rotation, the US was ahead by 1.4. In the gymnastics world, 1.4 can come or go in a heartbeat. As the Russians fell apart before the American’s eyes, the gold medal was all but theirs. All they needed to do was avoid disaster.
Doing exactly that, the American women hit all three routines, an exclamation point to a fabulous day. Jordyn Wieber showed no signs of being affected by her failure to move on to the all-around final, and was the first to stand up and cheer her teammates on. After Raisman finished her last tumbling pass, a double pike, she nearly started crying right there on the floor, a moment she’ll never forget.
All the hard work, blood, sweat, and tears has finally paid off for these five young ladies. Each and every one of them has worked harder than one can even imagine to get to this point, and the only difference is now they have a gold medal to prove it.