Local gymnasts find hope in Wieber, Team USA

By Anna Yee

Local gymnasts find hope in Wieber, Team USA

July 30, 2012 Updated Jul 30, 2012 at 5:13 PM CDT

LONDON -- A world gymnastics champion going for the gold.

Jordyn Wieber was expected to take that next step in breaking the 16-year gold-less world champ curse Sunday night.

But instead, she took a step back.

Team USA's Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas qualified for the all-around finals, instead of Wieber.

Millions of people watched as her world turned upside down.

She placed fourth overall but couldn't clench one of the two all-around spots each country is allowed.

Those watching in Central Illinois, saw the 17-year-old's failure in a different light.

"It's OK that she didn't make it to the all-arounds," said Abby Wetzel, a 10-year-old gymnast from Peoria. "If she still does gymnastics next year, she can train for the Olympics again and hopefully make it to the all-around next time."

That message resounds at Jump Start gymnastics in Peoria, where dozens of young gymnasts- and their parents- go through the ups and downs of life on the mats.

"I think it sets a good example that we all fail at some point in our life," said Shawn Wetzel, Abby's father. "We have to pull ourselves together and move on."

Moving on is just what the Americans will have to do.

Tuesday is the women's finals, where USA will compete as a team, including Wieber on floor exercise.

That will be the true test in showing how well she can rebound, something that has already given inspiration to these aspiring Olympians.

"They work so hard in practices and never give up and stuff," said Tara Harvey, a 13-year-old Jump Start gymnast. "So, if I work that hard, then maybe I can be like them someday."

"They have their next competition to look forward to and go back in the gym and work harder," said Jenny Hoffman, the Jump Start team director. "Maybe Jordyn would have retired after the Olympics, but now that she didn't make all-around, maybe that's going to fuel her for another four years."

Or at least until Tuesday's finals.

Monday, the US men's gymnastics team will face the world's number one team, China.

Watch as they reach for the gold on WEEK, your Olympic headquarters.

Full coverage of the games resumes at 7:00 p.m.

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