Gymnastics’ two-per-country rule left Jordyn Wieber in tears at the London Olympics. The rule took McKayla Maroney out of the World Championships all-around Wednesday.
Maroney, the not-impressed Fierce Five member, competed in the all-around at a major international meet for the first time at worlds in Antwerp, Belgium, in qualifying. Two other U.S. gymnasts, Simone Biles and Kyla Ross, also entered the all-around.
The top 24 women from qualifying, no more than two per country, advanced to Friday’s final. Going in, everyone knew only two of Maroney, Biles and Ross would advance, even if they qualified one-two-three.
Biles and Ross were the top two qualifiers when everybody finished Wednesday, scoring 60.133 and 59.198 points, respectively. Maroney was sixth (57.149) and therefore the highest-scoring woman who will not get a chance to compete for all-around medals. In 2012, Wieber was fourth in qualifying, behind Aly Raisman (second) and Gabby Douglas (third).
“I’ve came a long away, so I’m really happy with what I’ve accomplished,” Maroney said in a video interview posted by USA Gymnastics. “I’m proud of myself at the end of the day.”
The World Championships in the year after the Olympics do not include a team event. The all-around final is Friday at 2 p.m. Eastern time, and the individual event finals are Saturday and Sunday. The men’s all-around final is Thursday.
The U.S. all-around champion Biles, 16, became the first U.S. woman since Shannon Miller in 1991 to qualify for all four event finals at the World Championships.
In addition to being No. 1 in the all-around, she qualified first on floor exercise (15.033), second on vault (15.55), fifth on balance beam (14.4) and sixth on uneven bars (14.8). The top eight (again, maximum two per country) make the event finals.
“I think (U.S. national team coordinator) Martha Karolyi makes me more nervous than the judges sometimes,” Biles said.
Ross, the youngest member of the 2012 Olympic champion team, qualified second into the uneven bars final (15.133), third into the balance beam final (14.566) and sixth into the floor final (14.333). She went through qualification Tuesday, a day before Biles and Maroney.
“Everything went pretty well,” Ross said Tuesday. “I know I was going to be the first for the Americans. so I just wanted to have a good and strong start and lead everyone off.”
Maroney was the top qualifier on vault, where she is the defending world champion and Olympic silver medalist. She scored a 15.641 in qualifying. That will be her only worlds final, on Saturday.
“I am here right now because at the Olympics I didn’t get to defend that (vault) title,” said Maroney, who fractured a tibia in the post-Olympic gymnastics tour in September. “That was the main reason I had all that motivation to come back and get my butt over here today.”
Biles and Ross put a dent into Russian Aliya Mustafina‘s favorite status in the all-around. Mustafina, the 2010 world all-around champion, qualified fifth into Friday’s final with 57.165 points. She fell on floor and vault and wobbled on beam.
There’s a chance the U.S. could go one-two in the World Championships all-around in the year after the Olympics for the third straight time, following Chellsie Memmel and Nastia Liukin in 2005 and Bridget Sloan and Rebecca Bross in 2009.