They have been dubbed “The Fab Five” and close to fabulous they have been thus far in the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Five teenaged girls from across the U.S. are wowing the crowds in London with their athletic prowess, professionalism and Olympic spirit.
Gabby Douglas of Virginia Beach, Virginia, McKayla Maroney of Long Beach, Calif., Aly Raisman of Needham, Mass., Kyla Ross of Aliso Viejo, Calif. and Jordyn Wieber of DeWitt, Mich. are the five young women representing the U.S. in the 2012 Olympic Games Women’s Gymnastics competition.
Sunday’s finals qualifying round on day two of the games brought cheers and tears for the team and its individual members. There were mistakes and surprises, so all was not perfect.
Dressed in their bright royal blue uniforms sparkling with white stars, the five strode confidently onto the stage with heads held high each time they were introduced. Though locked into a fierce competition with each other on Sunday for slots in the final all around competition, the five still hugged and cheered each other on.
Perhaps the most poignant and unexpected moment was Gold Medal favorite Jordyn Weiber’s failure to qualify for the women’s final all around event. Weiber is the reigning world champion in women’s gymnastics and is considered one of the strongest members of the team.
However, Weiber’s loss was her teammate Aly Raisman’s gain as Raisman, the team captain, stepped up her game to win a spot for the final all around event, edging out Weiber.
Raisman delivered an artistic and athletic floor routine with grace, poise and pizzaz that resulted in an overall score that beat Weiber’s score.
Virginia’s Gabby Douglas placed third after Raisman. Since the Olympic rules require that only two members of each national team can move on to the finals in the women’s all around, only Raisman and Douglas made the cut since they received the two top scores for the U.S team.
When the results were announced, the TV cameras zoomed in on Weiber’s face as the 17 year old burst into tears. Raisman, Weiber’s friend and teammate also started to cry and looked a bit stunned as she walked out of the arena. Raisman’s mother was also caught on camera, crying and hugging her husband.
It was just one of those twists in the Olympic narrative when a slight deviation in form or a fraction of a second changes lives and dashes hopes after years and years of practice.
“I’m speechless,” Raisman told a TV sports reporter in an interview after the event.
After taking a few moments to compose herself, Weiber spoke to Andrea Joyce of NBC TV sports and expressed her disappointment but congratulated her teammates.
Despite their mistakes, the U.S. women gymnasts have started strong, finishing the qualifying round with a team total of 181.863, putting the American women ahead of Russia at 180.429 and China at 176.637, respectively. Rounding out the team final field are Romania, Great Britain, Japan, Italy, and Canada. (Sunday’s scores will not count in the finals competitions).
There is more good news for the U.S. Four of the team members also qualified for individual events during the final competition.
The U.S. women gymnasts advancing to the individual finals are
- Ally Raisman
- Gabby Douglas
Individual event finals for Women’s Olympic Gymnastics
- Vault: McKayla Maroney
- Uneven bars: Gabby Douglas
- Balance beam: Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman
- Floor exercise: Aly Raisman, Jordyn Wieber
For more on Women’s Olympic Gymnastic events, fans should mark their calendars
The women’s team final is set for July 31, followed by the men’s and women’s all-around finals on Aug. 1 and 2, respectively. The individual event finals are Aug. 5-7.