Gabby Douglas' gold medal in the women's all-around will leave American fans with a warm fuzzy from the gymnastics competition on Thursday, but the fact that Aly Raisman is missing out on a bronze medal despite tying with Aliya Mustafina in the competition is sure to leave a sour taste in the mouths of many Americans.
Raisman and Mustafina both tied at 59.566 points in the event after their four rotations, and in the case of a tie for a medal placement, there is a tiebreaker procedure. Important parts are in bold.
Should there be ties in the team finals in London, the lowest apparatus score will be dropped and the remaining scores added. If that doesn't break the tie, additional apparatus scores will be dropped, one at a time, until there is a winner. If no winner emerges, the tie stands.
There is a similar formula for the all-around final. But if no winner has emerged following the dropping of apparatus scores, the execution score total for each gymnast serve as the tie-breaker, followed by his or her total start value. If that doesn't establish a winner, the tie will stand.
So Mustafina's lowest score (a 13.633 on the balance beam) and Raisman's lowest score (a 14.200 on the balance beam) were both dropped, and the scores remaining were compared. Mustafina had a 45.933 after the drop, and Raisman had a 45.366; therefore, Mustafina won the tiebreaker.
For what it's worth, had the tiebreaker gone to two apparatus scores or one, Mustafina would have won those tiebreakers, too: of the eight scores recorded by both gymnasts in the all-around competition, Mustafina's best score, on the uneven bars (16.100), was better than Raisman's best, on the vault (15.900), and her second-best score, a 15.233 on the vault, just beats Raisman's second-best, a 15.133 on the floor exercise.
American fans will be mad about the tiebreaking procedure, but it should also be noted that there is historical precedent for dual bronze medals in the event: in 1996, Romanians Simona Amanar and Lavinia Milosovici tied for bronze.
The tape-delayed version of the event will be broadcast on NBC during their primetime show from 8 p.m. to midnight ET.