Are Teammates Pinned Against One Another During the Olympics

The Jordyn Wieber Controversy

For the past week or so, Micah and I have been avidly watching the Olympics! We have been extremely impressed with the caliber of the athletes this year—from the swimmers to the runners, the badminton players to the basketball stars. But we cannot help but be most impressed (and awe-struck!) by the gymnasts. Who knew bodies could even bend in such crazy ways!? They look like human rubber bands!!!

The other night, as Micah and I were watching the Olympic Games, we couldn’t help but be shocked at the qualification standards for the women’s gymnastics teams. The way that girls qualify for the all-around competition is quite interesting…and it has stirred up quite the controversy! From the beginning of the gymnastics competition, Micah and I were rooting for US Olympic gymnast Jordyn Wieber, the all-around World Champion. But our hopes were lost when Jordyn did not earn a spot in the finals for the all-around competition. It didn’t just shock me and Micah—it shocked the world!!

Jordyn Wieber has been in the hearts and minds of Americans everywhere…but unsteady beam and floor exercises during the Olympics forced her into the #3 position on the American team (and they only take the top 2 from each country to the finals). Jordyn had to watch her dreams from afar and cheer on teammates Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas (who later won the Gold).

Since the Olympics takes the top 2 competitors from each country, that doesn’t mean that the best 24 girls actually compete in the finals!! If the finals took the top 24 based on score (not country), Jordyn would have been 4th overall (instead of being completely eliminated!) but wasn’t able to compete in finals because two of her teammates scored higher. It is a controversy that has been repeated in the sport of gymnastics for years.
Jordan was devastated—and the nation was, too. As a gymnast said to be on the same level as past greats such as Mary Lou Retton and Nastia Liukin, watching Jordyn burst into tears was one of the hardest parts of the Olympics to watch.

So what does this mean, exactly? It means that gymnasts are not only competing against other countries in the prelims/semi-finals, but they are also competing against one another. Does this create tension among teammates? Do teammates get pinned against one another during the all-around competition? Does this change the dynamic of an Olympic team? Should the Olympics let the top 24 compete in finals, instead of the top 2 from each country?

We think the best of the best should compete against each other—that’s what the Olympics are all about.

Leave your comments below and tell us what you think!