|Citius, Altius, Fortius, unless you put in the third best performance on your team.
Clan J. gathered around the holoscreen last night to watch the women’s gymnastics qualification round. NBC’s coverage was only trivially problematic, because the United States were in the first group.
You see, four teams rotate through the four apparatuses (apparati?). When they’re done, four more teams go, then four more teams go. The US performed in one of the first two groups ahead of the Russians and Chinese (aka, their real competetion).The Americans came out on top of the preliminary round and are headed into the team All Around finals on Tuesday, which is not a surprise, they’re quite good, and the Russians aren’t the same without the Ukrainians. Team’s 5-8 will perform first, then the US, Russia, China and Romania will perform at the same time. Dr. J. would be shocked if the 5th place qualifying team, Great Britain will perform such that they capture bronze, but wierder things have happened. Because teams 1-4 will be performing Tuesday night, the atmosphere in the arena will be far more electric.
Tonight’s festivities did not only determine the seeding for the team All-Around
, but it also determined the seeding for the individual All-Around and the individual Apparatus finals
. The big controversy of the night (and there always is controversy when judges, rather than points or clocks determine the scores) is with a rule that everyone knew about going into the olympics.
That rule is that only two individuals from each team will make cut of twenty-four who make the individual All-Around finals
. The rule was placed to prevent a monopoly of individual slots to the individuals from the best teams. But frankly it is a stupid rule. It blocked the third
place individual from four of the five best teams from making the cut. It is a rule whose impact would have been trivial with regard to national diversity within the finalist pool, but had a devastating impact on individual achievers.
As a consequence of that rule, the reigning world champion and 4th place finisher Jordyn (yeah, with a y) Wieber didn’t make the cut. Nor did the 12th place Russian, 21st place Brit, and 22nd place Chinese gymnasts. They were replaced with the 25th place French, 26th place Polish, 27th place Japanese and 28th place Australian gymnasts.
Of course NBC is playing up the controversy, with Bob Costas bear-baiting Bela Karolyi, who of course thinks that the rule is horse-pucky.
Now Dr. J. is in agreement with NBC for once. This rule screwed 4 individuals, including a potential medalist in hopes of giving France, Poland, Japan and Australia their fair share. It wasn’t as if the top teams monopolized the slots. Indeed, the US team used a vault specialist (McKayla Maroney) to crush that event, and that move itself prevented two of its 5 athletes from even qualifying for the individual All-Around.
Let Dr. J. reiterate, everybody knew the rules going in, but it doesn’t make anyone feel any better. But alas, such is the way the Progressive Movement, including its Olympic Arm.
Diversity trumps achievement, as the Czar lamented yesterday.
A 4th place athlete is replaced with a 25th place athlete in the All Around finals. That won’t teach the kids to be the best they can be, it will teach them to obtain dual citizenship.
Dr. J. wishes Ms. Wieber the best in the team All-Around finals and encourages and entreats her to perform her best. It is his wish that her individual score in the team All-Around is higher than the individual All-Around medalist. That would be an impressive achievement.