The 2012 Olympic Women's Gymnastics All-Around competition on August 2 featured 24 of the world's top gymnasts going for gold. Team USA's Gabby Douglas led from the outset, and came away the gold medalist over Russia's Victoria Komova. Despite tying for third place, a tie-break placed Aly Raisman a crushing fourth behind Aliya Mustafina, bringing about yet more controversy from the London Games. Here's a look at how the competition played out.
Both Douglas and Raisman competed in the highest seeded group alongside prime competitors Mustafina and Komova of Russia. Rotation one saw them tackle the vault, which is the Team USA's strongest event as a whole. The Americans performed well, with Douglas opening with a 15.966 after fighting tooth and nail to avoid stepping out of bounds, and Raisman a 15.9.
Komova followed, and scored a disappointing 15.466 after taking two large steps upon landing. Italy's Vanessa Ferrari, the 2006 World All-Around Champion, followed with a 14.6, and China's Deng Linlin secured at 14.9. Aliya Mustafina of Russia closed out rotation one by sticking the landing of her vault--which had been a challenge for several of the other girls--and scoring a 15.233. Not surprisingly, Douglas and Raisman stood one-two after the first rotation, followed by Komova and Mustafina.
Rotation two saw them headed to the uneven bars, an area where Raisman has not typically excelled in the past, but is a strong suit for the Russian gymnasts. She started off the round with a reasonably solid routine that featured a few form breaks and scored a 14.333, which is a good number for Raisman. Komova followed with a lovely offering that showed off her graceful form, and was rewarded with a huge 15.966, while Mustafina's routine score a monstrous 16.1. 'Flying Squirrel' Douglas finished the rotation with a high-flying, well-executed routine that scored a 15.733. Douglas' mark was good enough to maintain the lead, by a slim margin of 31.699 to Komova's 31.432.
The top seeded ladies headed to rotation three, the balance beam. Komova opened the round with a very good offering that scored an enormous --and arguably too-high-- 15.441. After Deng turned in a very good score of her own, disaster struck as Mustafina hopped off the beam after losing her balance. Although she got back up on the apparatus and finished the routine, her chances at an all-around medal dimmed significantly with a score of 13.633.
Douglas continued the battle for gold, besting Komova's mark with a 15.5 of her own. Raisman sailed through the first part of her rotation-ending routine before suffering a major balance check followed by several bobbles that scored only a 14.2 and all but took her out of medal contention. But her strongest event --the event that earned her a spot in the all-around over Jordyn Wieber, who entered the Games as the favorite for gold-- remained.
Heading into floor exercise, which has proven one of the London Games' most unpredictable gymnastic events, Douglas still maintained a small lead over Komova, 47.199 to 46.873. Also still in the medal hunt were Mustafina in third with a 44.966, Deng with a 44.466. Raisman sat in fifth with a 44.433. Also possibly in medal contention was Romania's Sandra Izbasa, who performed consistently well throughout the final.
Mustafina regained some ground thanks to a lovely floor exercise that showed off her artistry and earned her a 14.6. Douglas finished with a huge smile and a 15.033, which guaranteed the 16-year old a medal. Raisman followed with an excellent offering on her final event, and scored a 15.133. She ended up in a dead heat with Mustafina for third place, though the scoreboard gave the Russian the advantage for bronze.
Komova closed out the program with her routine to decide the champion. And she delivered big time, performing a clean, powerful floor exercise that scored her a 15.1, but wasn't enough to win. She sat on the sidelines in tears over her silver medal finish as Team USA's Gabby Douglass took all-around gold. Mustafina finished third despite tying with Raisman after the tie-break was applied.
Although it's Douglas' victory to celebrate, it's a crushing result for Raisman, whose gaffe on beam wound up costing her a medal. It seems unfair to apply a tie-break in Olympic competition, where athletes work so hard to score well and do their best. It wouldn't hurt anything to award a double medal to hopefuls with the same final scores, but unfortunately, competition often isn't fair.
2012 Olympic gymnastics competition concludes with apparatus finals.