As predicted, the U.S. women's gymnastics team totally slayed the Olympic qualifiers Sunday, with Simone Biles and Aly Raisman leading the pack and advancing to the all-around finals.
But due to the "two-per-country" rule, returning champ and 2012 all-around gold medalist Gabby Douglas will not be allowed to advance and defend her title, even though she finished with the third highest score overall. This is incredibly heartbreaking for Gabby, especially considering how close she came to being able to compete: Simone finished with an all-around score of 62.366, Aly with a 60.607, and Gabby with a 60.131. No other gymnast from a non-U.S. country even broke a 59.
As the Washington Post explains, the two-per-country rule was put into place by the international gymnastics federation in order to encourage diversity in the sport and to keep certain countries from completely dominating in competition. But over the years, it's been a source of heated debate and criticism, with many people pointing out that the rule is unfair to top performers who otherwise would have qualified if it weren't in place.
However, while she won't be able to compete in the all-around finals, Gabby will be able to compete alongside teammate Madison Kocian for the uneven bars final. Simone will compete in the balance beam, vault, and floor finals, all of which she received top scores for in qualifying; Aly will compete in floor; and Laurie Hernandez will compete in beam.
As NBC points out, since the U.S. is basically guaranteed to win team gold, Simone has the chance to become the first female gymnast to ever win five gold medals in one Olympics.
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