Once the shock of Michael Phelps failing to medal in the 400 IM subsided from Saturday, there was a new wave of attention directed to a nine year rule in gymnastics that prevents more than two participants from one country to advance to the All-Around Finals.
One of the favorites heading into the London Games in the Women's All-Around was USA's Jordyn Wieber. The 17-year-old from DeWitt, Michigan is the reigning World All-Around champion and finished fourth in qualifying on Sunday. The top 24 individuals advance to the finals, unless you have two other teammates who finish higher than you for the event.
That's exactly what happened to Wieber. She missed out on the second spot on her team by .233 points.
The Olympics are supposed to recognize the world's best athletes. If that is the case, then why is there a limitation on the number of athletes that can advance to the finals from one country? To put things in perspective, Ashleigh Brennan (AUS) advanced to the finals with a score of 54.232. That is nearly six full points lower than Wieber's score.
Ana Maria Izurieta (ESP) qualified for one of the four reserve spots with a 53.533 mark. Yes, the rules even prohibit Wieber from being a reserve.
Why is this rule in place?
The closest thing that first comes to my mind that resembles this is in Major League Baseball. For the All-Star Game the rules state that each team must be represented by at least one player. Remember Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher, Mike Williams? Well, for all but the three of you that do remember him, he was perhaps the worst All-Star of all time. In 2003 Williams was selected to the National League All-Star team with a 0-3 record to go along with a 6.29 ERA.
This is what I believe the Olympics are trying to accomplish. No, not the embarrassment of having Mike Williams in the All-Star Game, but rather the best chance to have the most countries participating in an event.
While the Olympics are about competition and showcasing the world's best athletes, it is also about bringing in a global audience for as many events as possible. For example, this "two person" limit allowed for Giulia Steingruber (SUI) to get in the finals of the event. Otherwise Switzerland would have not had a representative in the all-around final.
Granted, the US is not the only team with a gripe. Russia, Great Britain, and China all had to deal with the same thing on Sunday. One of their athletes had a top 24 score, but there were already two teammates ahead of them advancing to the finals.
I understand why this rule is in the Olympic Games, but I do not agree with it. There is no reason why an athlete should not advance to the finals if he or she obtains one of the top scores required (in this case a top 24 score).
Jordyn Wieber should be competing in the All-Around Final.
Do you agree with the rule in place that limits a country from only sending two athletes to the All-Around Final regardless of where they fall in the overall standings?
Joe Chacon is a Staff Writer for Operation Sports and a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @JoeChacon.