In one of the greatest victories in the history of gymnastics, the U.S. women’s gymnastics team won its first team goal medal since 1996. It was only the second time in history that a U.S. women’s gymnastics team had won the gold.
There was plenty of drama. That started with world champion Jordyn Weiber’s tears after her heartbreaking exclusion from the all-around final. Then came NBC’s story on the tremendous sacrifices Gabby Douglas’ single mother (see video) made to send her teenage daughter hundreds of miles away to train with a world-class coach, hoping to make her Olympic dream come true. Finally, there was McKayla Maroney’s broken big toe, which she had determined would not prevent her from competing.
Of course, you know what happened. After Weiber’s depressing letdown, “She had about five minutes of disappointment, and she let it cry out,” related personal coach John Geddert. “And then she immediately responded with, ‘We’ve got work to do on Tuesday.’ ” Weiber’s work paid off, as she led off Team USA’s first rotation with high marks on a very difficult vault. “When she went out there and nailed that vault, it was contagious,” said Douglas, who came next and got even higher marks. Finally came the injured Maroney, whose vault seemed to soar to the rafters and nearly reached perfection. Before the night was over, the U.S. team had won by an astounding 5.066 points.