Chellsie Memmel was the 2005 world all-around champion, and a 2008 Olympic silver medalist with the team. If there was a nomination for unluckiest gymnast, too, I'd think of her first. She was a solid contender (arguably a lock) for the 2004 Olympic team, before injuring her foot. In 2008 she made the team, then broke her foot in practice before the Games, but still gamely competed on bars for the U.S.
Last year at nationals Memmel looked great, and seemed in the running for a spot on the world team before a shoulder injury forced her to have surgery. Her first meet back was the US Classic on Saturday. Memmel had a disastrous day, falling twice on beam -- the only event she competed. A tough competition for sure, but now it seems it might also be her last. USA Gymnastics denied her petition to compete at nationals, and she's also therefore ineligible for Olympic Trials, and the 2012 Olympic team.
Sure, she was a long shot to make the team, and yes, she didn't look up to par at Classics, but still, it seems some respect should be given to her past accomplishments. She first made the senior national team way back in 2003, winning two gold medals (team and bars) at worlds that year. She's been competing for the US for more than a decade when you include her junior results. Plus, with a little under two months to go until the Opening Ceremonies in London, anything could happen. Memmel has a habit of getting her skills back really quickly -- and the USA always seems to lose a few gymnasts to injury before the final team walks out on the floor. I'm surprised the selection committee is so quick to dismiss any gymnast, least of all a former world champ.
A petition has been started at Change.org in support of Memmel. It might be too late for USA Gymnastics to change its stance, but if nothing else, at least Memmel will know how many people think the decision was unfair.
Pictured above: Memmel in 2008; © Harry How / Getty Images