When Dreams Must Change: Jordyn Wieber Misses the AA Finals

Jordyn Wieber has been working for one goal her entire life. Every step of the way has been full of blood, sweat, pain and sacrifice. But she has reached each milestone along the way without fail.

She won her first US Jr. National Championship in 2008. She has not lost one since. She won her first American Cup in 2009 at the age of 13 – still a junior competing against seniors. She won her second American Cup in 2011, defeating the current World Champion. She has continued that winning streak, losing only one national or international competition since 2008 right up to the Olympic Trials.

At the Olympic Trials, Gabby Douglas just edged her out. Still, Jordyn had made the Olympic team. Her dreams, her goals, everything she has worked so hard for were coming true. She was going to the Olympics.

She has looked great in training and looked incredible in podium training. After four years of seeing Jordyn do nothing but win, the thought that she would not qualify into the All-Around finals was not on anyone’s radar. And I am sure it was not on Jordyn’s.

Jordyn competed well today in qualifications. She had an small uncharacteristic mistake on vault, and a small mistake on bars (that has become quite characteristic).  However, when you started adding up the scores entering into the third rotation, a few on the gymternet began to wonder if Jordyn might come in third in the US standings. A few small bobbles and unrewarded connections on beams, a step out of  bounds on floor put us all into a reality none of us had conceived of. Jordyn may not even have the chance to fulfill her dream and compete for the All-Around Olympic title.

A hit routine from Aly on the floor sealed Jordyn’s fate. Jordyn was stunned. Aly was stunned. The gymnasts were stunned. The gymternet was stunned. Jordyn would not be moving forward into the All-Around Finals. Despite the fact that she still hit an unbelievably high all-around score. Despite the fact that she currently sits fourth in qualifications. She won’t even get a chance to compete as only two gymnasts per country can qualify into the finals.

And so Jordyn’s dream must change. And they must change quickly. On Tuesday, Jordyn has a critical contribution to make in the Team Finals- where she will most likely compete on every event. She can still dream of being an Olympic gold medalist in the team and possibly even on the floor.

Jordyn is the first to say that her goal is to go out and hit four for four and have fun. She DID do that today. Though there were small areas for improvement, she performed wonderfully. She did her job and can be satisfied with her performance.

Jordyn has an ability to focus like no one else I have ever seen. She has always shown incredible class in all her interactions. I have no doubt that she will set aside her devastating disappointment to focus completely on helping the team win gold.  She will be cheering louder for her best friend Aly and her teammate Gabby than anyone else during All-Around Finals. And that she will handle this loss with as much grace as she has handled being the It Girl.