LONDON (Reuters) - World champion Jordyn Wieber’s fuming coach has hit out at the “blatantly wrong” Olympic gymnastics rules that left the American out of the running for the all-around gold.
No reigning women’s world champion has won the Olympic all-around gold since Ukrainian Lilia Podkopayeva in 1996 and Wieber’s shock elimination in qualifying on Sunday means that run will not end in London.
John Geddert, Wieber’s coach, was particularly annoyed with the rules that denied her a place in Thursday’s 24-strong final despite that fact she finished fourth in the preliminary standings.
With only two athletes from each nation allowed to compete in the individual final, a step out of bounds on the floor in the dying minutes of qualifying meant she was only the third best among the Americans, behind less-celebrated team mates Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman.
That left Wieber sobbing, the gymnastics community in shock and Geddert raging.
“Obviously prelims did not go as planned but we have zero excuses. Jo had a good day but was not as good as her teammates on this day,” he said on Facebook page on Monday.
”We have always known the 2 per country rule, we are not crying of spilt (sic) milk, yet it makes it difficult to explain how the 4th best AA finisher, the world champion, does not get a shot at fulfilling her dream, just because her country happens to be incredibly strong.
”The sting of this injustice is painful and for the record I have voiced this opinion time and time again.
”We will not cry foul here, as the rules are the rules. BUT when the rules are so blatantly wrong and go against the grain of the intention of sport, something needs to be said.
“This is not whining and crying it is pure anger at our governing body for such idiocy. We are not the only victims of this rule but certainly the most recognizable (this time).”
Over the years, only four reigning world champions have won Olympic gold and having lost only two all-around competitions since 2008, Wieber had been expected to engage in a much hyped showdown with Douglas.
Instead she was condemned to being the first world champion who failed to make the Olympic all-around final cut since the Soviet Union boycotted the 1984 Los Angeles Games.