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USA Womens Gymnastics Blow It

August 13, 2008

All of the build up for this womens American team was absolutely anti-climatic.  Two nights ago in the preliminaries they were plagued by injuries and unfortunately last night for them, in the Team Competition they completely fell apart at the seams.  Their competitors, the Chinese, were everything I said gymnastics has been lacking lately.  They were elegant, effortless, and full of personality and poise.  Even the rare times they faltered it didn’t rupture their mood or their team.  They geled together and had one of the most exciting gymnastics team sets I have ever seen.  Even their floor exercise routines were the best of the competition, something the Americans are known for as their strongest event and the Chinese their weakest.

While the Americans did not perform up to their ability, they were not the only ones.  Romania and Russia struggled as well, Russia with two falls on balance beam, which gave Romania room to move into the bronze position.  This was the first Olympic team Gold Medal for China in the womens gymnastics genre, and they performed everything in spades.  They were nearly two entire points ahead of their closest competitors, the Americans, with a final tally of 188.9 while the Americans trailed with 186.525.  Four years ago in Athens the Americans also earned a silver medal in the team competition.

While the pressure obviously affected the team, after their second rotation and an amazing high bar turn out by the team, they were close competitors, but unfortunately Alicia Sacramone, the team captain, had a fall and and a few large wobbles on beam. China had also had a fall on beam, so Alicia killed opportunity to close the one point gap between the two teams fighting for gold.  The blame can’t be solely laid on Alicia, because on floor exercise neither Shawn nor Nastia lived up to their abilities either.  While they didn’t fall on their bottom as Alicia did, both stepped out of bounds and performed sub-par to their abilities.  China on the other hand performed brilliantly on floor with routines that offered difficulty but also had a flow and dance and performance quality that you don’t see often anymore.  It was exhilarating!

Sacaramone’s response to her error’s:

“I thought there was an advantage because I’ve been on the international competition scene a long time, but today I guess I let the pressure get to me.  Today it got the best of me.”

The U.S. womens team coach Marta Karolyi said:

“We worked hard and we very prepared,” said Marta Karolyi, coordinator of the U.S. women’s team. “Unfortunately, we made two mistakes. You can’t win gold with two mistakes.”

Right she is.  There is no doubt if Sacramone hadn’t fallen off beam it could have been a different ball game, but she and it wasn’t and a silver medal is still something to be incredibly proud.  Dispite USA’s mistakes they were still good enough to hold that position.  Congratulations to The Chinese Men’s and Womens teams for winning in their home country, but the American’s will be back for those All-Around titles.  See you then!

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Brittnee permalink
    August 13, 2008 2:15 pm

    I thought Alicia blew it for the team. The team knew it, Marta knew, and she knew it. It’s a shame the whole entire team suffered for her nerves.

  2. August 13, 2008 2:20 pm

    That’s not entirely fair. Alicia certainly had a huge responcibility in their loss, and technically will be deemed the reason for it forever, and the poor girl will have to live with falling on TWO events in a row, BUT the American team was all shakes on Sunday for the Prelims, and while they were maintaining on vault, the nerves were evident all around. So no, it wasn’t all Alicia’s fault, though she certainly will be carrying that outward responcibility for a long time.

  3. Meecheeda permalink
    August 14, 2008 3:17 pm

    I agree with Heather. Gymnastics is a sport of deductions. Yea, Alicia had some large deductions, but other members of the team also made errors that caused deductions. If they had had perfect scores, then Alicia’s deductions wouldn’t have been the cause of the loss of gold. I didn’t see a perfect score from anyone, so all could have done better. It was a TEAM competition, so all individuals were responsible in some part for the outcome. It isn’t right to look for one individual to point to in a team sport. It is unfortunate that people can’t be happy that the team competed well and brought home the silver. Out of all the gymnasts in the world, our girls did better than all but 6 girls from China. In my book that is a pretty amazing feat! You Go Girls – Team USA!

  4. Mary permalink
    August 15, 2008 1:34 pm

    Also, the US were missing team members due to injuries. Other teams had the luxury of having their lower score dropped. The US did not. So was it the fault of the injured ones that cost US the gold because they could not compete? Of course not. Not anymore than it was Alicia’s fault she erred.

  5. Nick permalink
    August 15, 2008 2:31 pm

    China won fair and square, they had a superior team. That U.S. coach Marta Karoyli needs to stop being such a cry baby that she lost. So the Chinese team is young, that just shows that they are even better than the much younger American team. Marta, seems to think that she is the authority on gymnastics, but she isn’t, she is just bitter because she lost. To even critisize the hosting country’s team and hint towards that they were cheating is a big wrong move on her part. She needs to stop being a baby and accept that the U.S. wasn’t number one. Besides the fact her comments embarrass the whole U.S.

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