Jordyn Wieber had spent most of her 17-years training for this moment, but when the U.S. gymnast failed to advance in the all-around final on Sunday she could no nothing more than collapse into tears.
With an individual medal now out of reach at the 2012 London Olympics, Jordyn Wieber might have seen her slim window to earn a Gold out of reach, Good Morning America reported. After being ousted by teammates Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas, the 5-foot-2 Wieber disintegrated into tears. Each country can only send two athletes to the all-around and event finals.
The stipulation that a team can send only two athletes has drawn some criticism, the Christian Science Monitor reported.Wieber is the 2011 all-around world champion, yet was not able to advance to the all-around final of 24 girls, the report noted. A total of 21 girls who scored lower than her still advanced to the finals.
Jordyn Wieber could still earn a medal in the team competition, but she will fall short of lofty expectations that she could surpass the star status of former athletes like Mary Lou Retton or Nastia Liukin, Good Morning America noted.
The defeat will also be difficult for American audiences. Wieber had been a fan favorite, who The New York Times referred to as a “pint-sized pixie,” this summer’s Olympic “sweetheart.”
As crushing as the loss appeared, the long-term effects could be just as damaging for Wieber, clinical psychologist Roni Cohen-Sandler told Good Morning America.
“It’s very sad,” said Cohen-Sandler, who specializes in adolescent stress, told Good Morning America.
“I do worry about kids — and they are kids at 17 — who feel as if winning a gold medal will completely change their life and make or break them as people,” she said. “That’s very dangerous.”
Wieber has little experience with losing. She reached the top of her game when she was 10 years old, Good Morning America noted, and as an eighth grader in 2009 she won the all-around at the American Cup. Jordyn Wieber lost only twice in competition since then and only to Americans.