TURN OF EVENTS
American Jordyn Wieber won a
dramatic battle against Russia’s
Coming from behind on
the last event, Jordyn
Wieber of the U.S. (
center) won the all-around
gold over Russia’s
Viktoria Komova (left)
and China’s Yao Jinnan,
AS the final floor exercise competitor in the last rotation of the women’s all-around, Russia’s Viktoria Komova glided through her “Swan Lake” choreography with only a few minor errors. And after completing her final pose in the corner of the
mat, she stood, smiled and waved to the cheering crowd. Having
built a comfortable lead prior to the final event, she thought she
had won. American Jordyn Wieber, who earlier had given away
several tenths on the uneven bars and had just stepped out of
bounds on floor, wasn’t really sure what to expect.
What happened moments later surprised just about everyone
inside Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium. When Komova’s
14.333 was flashed, it dropped her from first to second by the
minuscule margin of .033. With 59.382, Wieber was the new
world champion, and instantly the two gymnasts were reduced
to tears for opposite reasons. But there was perhaps one emotion they both shared: disbelief.
Rarely had a women’s all-around showdown been preceded
BY DWIGHT NORMILE
PHOTOS BY THOMAS SCHREYER
by so much hype. Fans had already been robbed once of a
potential battle between Wieber and Komova, when the U.S.
sent no female gymnast to the 2010 Youth Olympics in
Singapore. Predictably, Komova ran away with the all-around
Earlier that year, the two budding stars had at least competed
on the same weekend, if not in the same meet. Wieber won four
golds (team, all-around and two events) at the Pacific Rim in
Even without her full repertoire of
skills, Komova, who had ankle surgery
last spring, made an immediate impact
at worlds. She led the qualification
round over Wieber, 60.157-60.032, so
the game was on.
Not one to be flustered, Wieber eliminated much of the nerves that affected
her in prelims and calmly led the U.S.
to the gold over defending champion
Russia in the team final. Individually,
she also outscored Komova, who had
fallen from balance beam on a layout
step-out, with the top score of 60.398.