Selection . . . rejection . . . dejectionWith the Olympics growing ever closer, the sense of loss and stories of heartbreak are beginning to surface more frequently as Olympic hopes and dreams are being shattered.
Most countries have only one spot, making the selection process very tough and leaving a great deal of misery behind to those who were unsuccessful. In the Netherlands in particular there has been a huge battle as to which gymnast should represent the country. Initially, gymnast Wyomi Masela was announced as the representative for the Netherlands, however this decision was made while one of the country's most successful gymnasts, Celine Van Gerner, was out with injury. Celine appealed this decision through the courts having not been given a chance to prove her readiness. The courts agreed with her and stated that the more time must be given for both gymnasts to compete before a final decision was made. At this point, heartbreak was inevitable for one of these girls. Her performance in recent competitions led to Celine Van Gerner finally being announced as the representative for the Netherlands. I can't help but feel sorry for both girls having to go through so much as part of the selection process.
For the 12 countries that have qualified a full team it could easily be thought that heartbreak would be less of a problem. The fact is however, that majority of countries have such depth of talent which means that a lot of excellent gymnasts will be left behind. Now add to this the fact that this year, for the first time, there are only five gymnasts per team as opposed to the six gymnasts per team in Beijing 2008 and even the 2011 World Championships in Tokyo.
This problem seems to be particularly apparent in the USA. The strength of talent within team USA is such that many countries would be more than happy with five if the gymnasts that the USA decides NOT to take to London. The potential for heartbreak when the team is announced is huge as there are so many genuine candidates hoping to be chosen. Problems have already begun to surface as 2008 Olympic team member Chellsie Memmel's petition was denied and her hopes of a second Olympics were dashed before even making it to the Visa National Championships. This caused outcry as many believed that she had a strong chance. It is with baited breath that we now wait for the USA Olympic Trials. I can only hope that my favourites make the team.
Elsewhere, selection news is starting to come in and much to my disappointment, many of my favourite Russian gymnasts are already out of the running. Although I am incredibly excited about Aliya Mustafina and Viktoria Komova, I am sad to see that both Anna Dementyeva and Anna Pavlova will not be on the Olympic team.
I can only imagine the feelings of the poor gymnasts who do not make the Olympic team. They are all exceptional people with an incredible talent and I wish them all many happy and successful years of gymnastics to come.