fair ⎜fe(Ə)r⎟ (adjective): in compliance with the rules.
I just want to remind people what fair means. It has been a bit disconcerting hearing people say that what happened to American gymnast, Jordyn Weiber, was unfair. That she was robbed or cheated of a chance at the all-around medal. Perhaps it is more semantics, but while you may not agree with the new rule that allows each country to send no more than two women into the final round of the all-around gymnastic competition, the rules were known and applied accordingly.
What may be unfair is that the (US) media is only focusing on the Americans, and making it seem like no one else found themselves in this position. There were actually three women from three other countries that also lost out on a chance at the all-around medal because of this new rule. Russia (12th place), China (22nd place), and host country, Great Britain (21st place), each had a team member that came in the top 24, but will not be competing in the all-around finals. The complete list of results are here.
The idea behind the rule is to allow more countries to compete, especially given that most countries do not send teams with more than 4 members. The idea is that while they may not have a true chance at the medal, people back home may think about how close they came, and better gymnastic programs will pop up around the world, making the sport better for everyone. It looks like Poland is the one country where this might be the case. Of course, it does seem a bit incredible that the woman who currently holds the World title, will not be competing. That may feel a bit unfair to those who do move onto the finals.
I think it is hard to understand how competitive you need to be to get to Olympic level. I have no doubt that the Russian woman, Viktoria Komova, who lost to Weiber at the Worlds, feels it is unfair that she will not be allowed to compete against Weiber at these games. I suspect, should she win, there will always be a voice in the back of her head asking if she really was the best. Great athletes like this want to win fair and square – not because of some technicality caused by a bizarre rule.
The thing to remember though is that Weiber had a fair shot at the medal. The reality is she and her teammates were aware that only two of them would move onto the finals, even though all three of them had the potential to move forward (they placed 2nd, 3rd, and 4th overall in the preliminary round). Weiber made some mistakes and points were deducted. Her teammate, wanted it more, and seized the opportunity when it presented itself.
I do think it was unfortunate that Weiber received the news so publicly. I cannot imagine learning that part of your Olympic dream had been lost while reporters stood by with cameras and microphones waiting for your thoughts while you tried not to lose it completely. Keep in mind, she just turned 17.
If you must feel sorry for someone, feel bad for Ericka Fasana of Italy. Because of this new rule, she would have made the reserve list, but two of her teammates are already in the all-around competition. Talk about not being able to catch a break.
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