Aly Raisman - photo from USA Today
LONDON (USA TODAY) - Aly Raisman stole the show from Gabby Douglas and Jordyn Wieber on Tuesday.
All it took was a protest and tie-breaker in the beam and a practically perfect floor routine on the final day of gymnastics competition at the London Olympics.
The 18-year-old U.S. captain won two medals - the gold in the floor with a score of 15.6 and the bronze in the beam.
It was a stirring performance just five days after losing a medal in the all-around because of a scorecard tie-breaker. And it left her in stark contrast to her two well-known teammates.
Douglas, the all-around gold medalist. flopped for the second day in a row, finishing seventh in the beam after finishing eighth on the unevenbars on Monday. She becomes the first all-around champ to not earn at least one individual medal since women's gymnastics was added in 1952. Wieber, the world champ in the all-around who didn't even qualify for that event here, finished out of the medals on floor with a 14.5.
In the beam, Raisman needed a to win a protest just to get to the tiebreaker. She originally finished fourth on the balance beam, but the USA protested her level of difficulty marks. After a few anxious moments, the judges agreed with the U.S. position and placed Raisman in a tie for third with Romania's Catalina Ponor at 15.066. Then the tiebreaker kicked in, and Raisman was awarded bronze because of her execution score, 8.766 to Ponor's 8.466.
Raisman broke out into a huge smile and put her arms in the air after the announcement. Douglas, her teammate, felt the opposite emotion. Stone-faced, she had sat and watched her score of 13.633 be posted after a wobbly routine included a near-fall. She managed to stay off the floor only by wrapping both arms around the apparatus.
Had Russian star Victoria Komova not completely fallen off and scored 13.166, Douglas would have finished last among the eight competitors. This was her final event at these Games. She said the mental toll was harder on her than the physical one.
"I put my all into it," she said. "Overall, it's been a good journey."
Deng Linlin of China took the gold on beam and Sui Lu of China the silver.
The only two American men competing Tuesday - Danell Leyva and Jonathan Horton- finished out of the medal race in the high bar. Epke Zonderland of the Netherlands won the gold.
For Wieber, an Olympics full been full of joyous highs and shocking lows came to a close.
Wieber's wild ride began when she finished fourth in all-around qualifying. She was denied the opportunity to compete for individual Olympic gold because international rules allow only two gymnasts per country in the finals and she qualified behind Douglas and Raisman. Two days later, her steely performance helped the Americans win their first Olympic team gold since the "Magnificent Seven" in 1996. Then, for at the all-around final, she cheered as her teammate Douglas won the gold.
Wieber suffered an injury and was being fitted for a boot.
"I would expect nothing else out of a kid whose character is etched in granite," said U.S. coach John Geddert, who has been Wieber's personal coach her entire career. "She's as classy a kid I've ever had to deal with."