I just watched the coverage of the women’s gymnastics vaulting on TV. McKayla Maroney, the favorite for the gold, only got the silver. The shock among the audience, and on her face, said it all. The pressure these people feel in this situation has to be ridiculous and we, the audience, make it worse because we assumed she’d win. We already gave her the medal and made it that much harder for her. She didn’t get the gold even though she’s the best vaulter, probably of all time, and she’s probably going to feel a huge sense of failure.
I’m not sure why the Olympics are the most important thing to these athletes. The rest of a career doesn’t suddenly go away because someone doesn’t win a gold medal. And in the end nobody is going to remember who won the gold in vaulting at the London Olympics but they are going to remember Maroney and her accomplishments.
She still has a gold medal. The team gold where she probably made the most important vault of her life to help the US win and what hadn’t been done since 1996.