Monday, July 30, 2012

Olympics Qualification for Women's Gymnastics & Two Per Country Rule

I won't deny it I'm a big fan of gymnastics, I used to do it when I was little but too many threatening injuries and I had to stop.

I love to watch the Olympics, the only sport I watch during the Olympics is gymnastics.

The Women's Gymnastics team of the U.S.A. finished first in qualification and then something happened that the Americans didn't like and were demanding rule changes. The same happens every year in the Olympics, something happens and then because of the rules they automatically demand a rule change. So what happened that caused this sudden outcry from Americans was simple.

The International Federation of Gymnastics (FIG) has a rule stating that only two gymnast per country can compete in Event finals and in the All-Around. 2011 World Champion Jordyn Wieber of the U.S. missed out due to mistakes on balance beam during qualification, and deductions from stepping our of bounds on floor exercise. Her other two teammates Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman performed their routines a little more consistent and scored higher thereby winning their opportunity to compete in the All-Around leaving the 2011 World All-Around Champion unable to compete. 

Media was then going crazy, most in particular the Americans demanding for Wieber to compete and a rule change. Both sides were giving arguments, on this. Those who were fans of Wieber were demanding rule changes and said for the World champion to compete. Those who understand rules are rules also acknowledged that just because she's the World Champion it doesn't mean she deserves any other special treatment. Rules are rules. Let's put this scenario into retrospective. Two students attending the same school bring a weapon to school, yet one of the students is an honor roll student and has not had any previous disciplinary problems. Should the honor roll student not get into any trouble just because said student has not 

Wieber's coach John Geddert then gave an interview to the media. Some of the things her coach said to media was very unprofessional especially since it's the middle of a competition. Geddert expressed how he was devastated for her because she worked her whole life for this moment. Geddert also spoke about how the judges didn't give her a high enough scores on her routines. Then expressed that some of the rules the FIG have are plain ridiculous. He should be lucky the judges don't take it out on the team and decide to deduct more out of their scores in the team final. I happen to find it unprofessional.

Let's not forget that Geddert is the head coach for the team, and is clearly playing favoritism because Jordyn is his gymnast that he trained since she was a kid. If he's going to play favorites then he shouldn't be the head coach. If I was Aly Raisman's coach I would have been furious with him for practically stating that the other gymnast who scored better didn't deserve it. Geddert's interview made it sound like the other girls hadn't worked hard to get to this point in their career. He sounds like he's saying Aly doesn't deserve to be in the All-Around. Let's say there was 3 per country rule and another teammate had pushed Jordyn out, would he be Interview can be read here.

Let's put something else into prospective that also puzzled those who understand the rules; What if Aly messed up on floor and didn't make it into the All-Around, instead it was Jordyn and Gabby, would Geddert have gone to media demanding a rule change? At the 2011 World Championship's when Aly and Jordyn made the All-Around and Gabby Douglas was left out per the two per country rule, I didn't see Geddert going to media demanding a rule change. It's clearly a case of favoritism. 

Now the rule of where only two gymnast per country can compete. That rule has been enforced since 2001. The rule was put into effect from the old days when Russia won everything, and was also put into effect after the 2000 Sydney Olympics when Romania won all of the medals in the All-Around. In fact, the U.S. is one of the countries who pushed for that rule when gymnast were left off the podium.

Geddert and Wieber had been in this sport for quite sometime, they knew the rules from the beginning. Geddert then wants a rule change just because his gymnast is the World Champion? The U.S. is not the only country that had gymnast left off the podium, and now because their World Champion was left off the podium they want the rule that they also pushed for changed? 

Many sports announcers think there is a curse with the World Champions the year before the Olympics. Let's look back. In 2003 Russia's Svetlana Khorkina was the All-Around champion, and the favorite to win gold in the 2004 Sydney Olympics. 

But then U.S.A's Carly Patterson who won silver in the All-Around won the All-Around title at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

In 2007, U.S.A Shawn Johnson was the National Champion and the 2007 World All-Around Champion and the favorite to win the All-Around title at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. 

But the U.S. Three time National Champion Nastia Liukin won the All-Around title at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The only gymnast that has ever won the World All-Around Title and won the Olympic title the year after that was Lilla Podkopayeva, who won the World All-Around title in 1995 and the All-Around at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

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