Two big surprises this morning: American gymnast and defending world champion Jordyn Wieber failed to qualify for the all-around finals.
The AP reports that it was nonetheless a great day for other Americans, who are favorites for gold:
“While the Americans breezed through qualifying in women’s gymnastics Sunday, throwing down a challenge to Russia, Romania and defending Olympic champion China in the process, Wieber will miss out on the all-around final after finishing behind Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas. Countries are limited to two gymnasts in the all-around and event finals.
“The Americans finished with 181.863 points, more than 11 ahead of second-place Britain. That was even with Wieber, Douglas and Kyla Ross bouncing out of bounds on floor exercise, their last event.”
The other big surprise: The 38-year-old British marathoner Paula Radcliffe has pulled out of competition because of a foot injury.
As the BBC reports, this is especially heartbreaking news. Radcliffe is the fastest female marathoner in the world, yet she has never won an Olympic medal. To have tried for her first medal on home turf would have been an unforgettable spectacle.
BBC Sports Jonathan Edwards writes:
“Paula will be absolutely heartbroken. It is unlikely she would have challenged for a medal, although she would have believed she could, but to have run in London and to have finished with her head held high after all the heartache she has had in previous Olympic marathons would have been very important to her.”
The U.K.’s Athletics Team Leader Charles van Commenee issued this statement about Radcliffe:
“This is obviously a disappointing day for Paula and our sport, but it was important to her that if she made the start line it would be in the best possible shape. It wasn’t meant to be and she has taken the right decision to withdraw at this stage.
“I think it is important that we don’t look at Paula’s career in Olympic cycles. She is undoubtedly one of the greatest female distance runners of all times and still holds the marathon World Record.
“When we look back at her career it should be in the context of what she has achieved and not what she hasn’t. I wish her all the very best for her recovery.”