America won the women's team gymnastics gold Tuesday at the London Olympics and made some history. In the process, Jordyn Wieber found 'redemption.'
Almost the first word that came out of Wieber's mouth after she and her teammates put on a clinic in the gymnastics team event Tuesday, winning gold in what one coach colorfully called a "shed-whuppin'," was "redemption." But it was spoken like one of her toe-point perfect routines – rock solid and never wavering.
Put simply, after the biggest disappointment of her gymnastic life Sunday in failing to qualify for the individual all-around final, Jordyn Wieber got down to business. As her teammates knew she would. As her coach knew she would. As the gymnastics world, surely, knew she would.
Only we doubted her, because we didn't know her.
Now, perhaps, we do.
In the end, the team event Tuesday was an anticlimax. America started strong, staking itself a lead with three perfect vaults. McKayla Maroney's vault scratched the rafters before she came down on the mat, feather-soft and still. "A moonshot," coach John Geddert called it. In what quickly boiled down to a two-team meet, Russia clawed back the lead by nailing their more difficult routines on the uneven bars. On the beam, America opened some distance as the Russians wobbled. With the US ahead, but not completely comfortably, only the floor exercise loomed.
There, Russia imploded utterly, with two gymnasts landing face-down on two of their passes. When the US followed, their routines had the feeling of a victory lap – all pressure removed as the exultant expectation of certain history shone through. Never before had the US women won the team event in an Olympics held on foreign soil.
Aside from the vault, it was a steady-as-she-goes performance, if not spectacular in the difficulty then unearthly in its consistency. The judges surely saw a few toes out of line somewhere, but no one else in the arena did.