2012 Olympic gymnastics action came to a close on August 7 with the women's floor exercise final, featuring Americans Jordyn Wieber and Aly Raisman and a talented group of gold medal hopefuls. Read on for a recap and the full results.
Kseniia Afanaseva, the reigning World Champion on Floor Exercise, opened the competition. It wasn't a winning kind of performance from the outset; she stepped out of bounds and committed several errors, which led to a disappointing mark of 14.566.
Wieber followed, and committed errors of her own, including a step out of bounds following a tumbling pass and a few little bobbles. A disappointed Wieber watched as her score, just a 14.5, appeared on the scoreboard. It marked the end of what must've been a disappointing Games for Wieber, who also lost out on an all-around berth when Raisman surged ahead of her at the close of qualifications.
Number one event qualifier Raisman --and ostensible gold medal favorite-- performed third. She delivered a strong performance that impressed commentator Shannon Miller, who noted that she hadn't seen any real problems with the program. She stuck every landing and showed why she was the top qualifier. She earned a monstrous 15.6, and happily hugged her coach.
Romania's Catalina Ponor, 24, performed next. She too nailed her tumbling passes and stuck her landings. She scored a 15.2, which elicited boos from the crowd, but it was her 6.2 difficulty mark that kept her well-below Raisman's mark.
Australian Lauren Mitchell was fifth to the hit the mat, seeking her nation's first Olympic gymnastics medal. After the third solid routine in a row, she came away with a respectable 14.833.
Up next was 2006 World All-Around champ Vanessa Ferrari, wearing a unique blue and pink one-sleeved leotard. She too excelled on the floor, and concluded her number with a smile before saluting the judges. After a long wait, she posted a 14.9, good enough for third place with two routines remaining.
Aliya Mustafina of Russia, who won a surprise gold in the uneven bars on August 6, was next in line. Despite a few small steps and tiny form breaks, she turned in an excellent performance that earned her a tie with Ferrari. Mustafina earned the edge thanks to her execution marks, though, pushing Ferrari off the podium.
Closing out the competition was Romania's Sandra Izbasa, the 2008 Beijing floor exercise champion and 2012 Games gold medalist on vault, thanks to McKayla Maroney's big error. After executing a beautiful routine, she seemed on her way to potential medal placement, but then disaster happened as she tumbled to the mat at the end of her last pass. The disappointing gaffe earned her a last-place total of 13.333.
It's impossible to be anything but happy for Aly Raisman, Team USA's captain and an exceptional gymnast. She handled the disappointment of missing out on all-around bronze --to Mustafina-- and came back stronger than ever to take individual gold for Team USA. She wasn't expected to be the star entering the Games, but she certainly proved that she is one. It's also hard to be anything but pleased for Mustafina, who completed her comeback from serious injury like a total champ.
The event brings to a close the 2012 Olympic gymnastics competition.