With the 2012 Olympic balance beam bronze medal on the line, it was déjà vu for Team USA captain Aly Raisman at the gymnastics event final on August 7. Despite completing a steady, well-executed routine that was marred by just a small bobble and a little hop on the post-dismount landing, she inexplicably found herself in fourth place moments later.
The crowd that filled the North Greenwich Arena let loose with a hearty chorus of boos, and Team USA wasted no time in filing a protest. After deliberating, the judges conceded that they'd undervalued Raisman's degree of difficulty, which upgraded her score from 14.946 to 15.066.
And then the infamous, now notorious, Olympic gymnastics tiebreak procedures came into play once again, as Raisman's updated mark equalled that of Romania's Catalina Ponor. Earlier in the Games, Raisman lost the tiebreak for the All-Around bronze to Russia's Aliya Mustafina.
Team USA held its collective breath before Raisman's name popped up in third place, courtesy of a higher execution score; she earned an 8.766 to Ponor's 8.466. A duo of Chinese gymnasts --Deng Linlin and Sui Lu-- took the gold and silver, respectively.
A delighted Raisman grinned and threw her hands up upon hearing the news.
All-Around champ Gabby Douglas didn't fare so well on the beam, and finished seventh. Though she didn't fall to the ground, a misplaced foot left her in an awkward straddle position and ended any medal hopes. Still, she leaves the London Games with two gold medals --and plenty of history, as the first African American woman to win the Olympic All-Around title-- to her name.
And the always-steady --but usually underrated and overlooked-- Aly Raisman leaves London with plenty of pride as Team USA's most decorated gymnast of the 2012 Games.