"I was really surprised, and I feel awful because she wanted it so bad," said Raisman, Wieber's closest friend on the team and the one who knocked her out of the all-around. "But she should still feel proud because she's an Olympian. We have to stay calm and focused on team finals."
The 17-year-old Wieber was sobbing as she made her way through the mixed zone, so distraught she couldn't speak to reporters. A quote attributed to her and distributed by the London Games' internal news agency said: "It is a bit of a disappointment. It has always been a dream of mine to compete in the all-around final of the Olympics."
The Americans finished with 181.863 points, even with a weak finish on floor exercise. That was enough to hold off Russia, which is 1.4 points behind after scoring 180.429. Beijing Olympics champion China was third (176.637), followed by European champion Romania (176.264), and Britain (170.656). Japan, Italy, and Canada rounded out the top eight.
The team final is Tuesday.
"That's what I told her, she's going to handle this with as much class as she handled the victories. Make no excuses," said John Geddert, the U.S. coach and Wieber's personal coach. "The job's not done yet. Team USA has got a big day on Tuesday."
The Americans have come into the last two Olympics as world champions, only to leave without gold. But this team is stronger, top to bottom, than the 2004 and even 2008 squads, and has a swagger LeBron James and his buddies would appreciate. That starts with Wieber, who is normally as steady and reliable as a metronome.
If anyone was going to avoid the 16-year curse of world champions going without Olympic gold, it was going to be her.
Wieber stepped slightly out of bounds on vault, had a form break on a handstand on uneven bars, and a few wobbles on balance beam. But it was the floor exercise that really cost her. She got too much power on one of her tumbling passes and had to steady herself with a step back - and out of bounds. The deduction left her on the all-around bubble with Raisman, the world bronze medalist on floor, still waiting her turn.
Raisman needed less than a 15 to knock Wieber down to third place, and she got that easily - and then some. She finished with a score of 15.325, bumping out Wieber. Raisman is second in the all-around standings behind Russia's Viktoria Komova, with Douglas third.