Gabby Douglas joined Mary Lou Retton, Carly Patterson and Nastia Liukin in winning the Olympic Gold Medal in the Women’s Individual All-Around (photo belongs to BleacherReport.com)
Again, you’re already well-aware, but the United States was treated to a historic and enthralling performance in the women’s gymnastics Individual All-Around Final Thursday, when 16-year-old Gabby Douglas became only the fourth American woman to win an Olympic Gold Medal.
“The Flying Squirrel” flew into the hearts of fans worldwide when she posted a top overall score of 62.232, just over a quarter of a point more than silver medalist Viktoria Komova of Russia. Komova had posted the top overall qualifying score. Her countrywoman Aliya Mustafina – a global force on the uneven bars – took the bronze in a tiebreaker over American Aly Raisman, with both scoring 59.566.
Douglas joined Mary Lou Retton (1984, Los Angeles), Carly Patterson (2004, Athens) and Nastia Liukin (2008, Beijing) as the only four American women to win the Individual All-Around, and she is the first African-American woman to win gold.
The Americans reiterated that they are the best in the world on the vault, nailing their Amanars for the top two overall scores. Douglas posted a meteoric 15.966 – nearly flawless – for the best performance, and Raisman continued her excellence as well, posting a 15.900. Komova, Romania’s Sandra Izbasa and Mustafina finished third through fifth on the apparatus, respectively.
Scores through Rotation 1:
Douglas – 15.966
Raisman – 15.900
Komova – 15.466
Mustafina – 15.233
It was Raisman’s next two rotations that doomed her to finish off the podium. She posted a 14.333 on the uneven bars, struggling and tying for ninth on the apparatus. The Russians are dominant on the bars, with Mustafina and Komova finishing 1-2 with a 16.100 and 15.966, respectively. Douglas is sensational on the bars as well, however, and posted a 15.733 to maintain the lead going into the balance beam.
Scores through Rotation 2:
Douglas – 31.699
Komova – 31.432
Mustafina – 31.333
Raisman – 30.233
Raisman struggled again on the beam, which is normally one of her best events, posting a 14.200, good for tenth in the field but within striking distance on the final rotation for a medal. She used her hands to support herself when she leaned over on the beam. Douglas, however, was in good form and scored tops on the beam with a 15.500, putting the pressure on the Russians heading into the floor exercise. Komova held strong in second place with a 15.441, second also on the apparatus. Mustafina fell, scoring a 13.633. China’s Deng Linlin posted the third-best beam score but was not a threat for the medal standings, barring a collapse from one of the contenders on the floor.
Scores through Rotation 3:
Douglas – 47.199
Komova – 46.873
Mustafina – 44.966
Raisman – 44.433
Izbasa ended up having the best performance on the floor exercise, but her scores on beam and bars kept her out of the top four. Mustafina made things interesting, scoring only a 14.600 on the floor, good for sixth overall and leaving the door open for Raisman. The American performed very well, scoring a 15.133 (second-best) with the highest difficulty level among the contenders, but that was just enough for a tie with Mustafina for third. Douglas had a difficulty of 6.100, higher than either Russian, and scored a 15.033, the fourth-best score on the apparatus.
Komova was the final performer on the floor exercise, needing a 15.359 to tie Douglas. Indeed, she had the third-best floor routine, but it was not enough to launch her above Douglas. Her 15.100 was the silver lining on her evening.
Mustafina and Raisman completed their all-arounds with the same score of 59.566. Many in the arena, including Raisman and Mustafina themselves, did not realize, then, how the latter was awarded the bronze medal and the former was left off the podium.
The International Gymnastics Federation rules do not provide for dual bronze medalists in the event of a tie. Instead, the tiebreaker totals the gymnasts’ top 3 scores across the four apparatus performances and compares them to determine who places first. Mustafina’s fantastic bar routine, with a 16.100 score, was the edge in the tiebreaker. Mustafina’s total of 45.933 from the bars, vault and floor were just 0.567 points better than Raisman’s 45.366 on the same three apparatuses, clinching her the bronze medal.
Raisman, who found out about the tiebreaker from the media, told the Associated Press she was not mad about the result. “I’m more sad than angry,” Raisman told the AP. “[Mustafina] didn’t do anything wrong. She had a good competition, too.”
1. Gabby Douglas – 62.232
2. Viktoria Komova – 61.973
3. Aliya Mustafina – 59.566
4. Aly Raisman – 59.566
5. Sandra Izbasa
6. Deng Linlin
Remaining Gymnastics Competition
Raisman will seek redemption on the balance beam, joining Douglas in the event final on the apparatus. Raisman and Jordyn Wieber will also compete in the floor exercise final, while Douglas will go for gold on the uneven bars, and McKayla Maroney will seek to again wow spectators on the vault.