I do not believe in ” what if ” It isn’t fair in my opinion to give the benefit of the doubt to one gymnast and not another. If gymnast A didn’t fall then she could have been World AA champion doesn’t work if gymnast B took 2 steps on her dismount but still won. If you what if gymnast A then you have to what if gymnast B.
This case however does not apply to Chellsie Memmel. Her injuries are so much more then anyone elses that I can picture Nastia Liukin hiding in a closet with a voodoo doll poking poor Chellsie’s entire body with pins.
Chellsie had the opportunity to not only compete at the Olympics in 04 and the Worlds in 06 and 07 but she had the opportunity win Gold medals on any given event including in the AA. If she was healthy leading up to the Olympics in 08 no one knows what she could have accomplished.
A last minute alternate to the 2003 World team Chellsie led the team to their first Team Gold medal. She also tied for Gold on the UB with teammate Hollie Vise. She won the AA Gold medal at worlds in 05 along with two silver medals on bars and beam. After that Chellsie’s entire career should be pictured next to the words “what if” in the dictionary.
In 2003 Chellsie had a rough Nationals but came back to nail her routines at the National team camp only to be left off the World team anyway (so much for hitting when it counts if Marta doesn’t like you) She was named to the Pan American team instead where she won the AA and UB Gold medals. Due to injuries by multiple gymnasts Chellsie was flown directly to the World Championships where she led the US to their first World team gold medal.
In 2004 Chellsie was injured, missed Nationals and Trials and wasn’t named to the Olympic team after competing bars and beam at camp. Everyone was led to believe there was a bars/beam specialist to be chosen but that was a lie. Marta had planned for Annia Hatch and her one event being the difference maker it never was. Annia’s gift was Chellsie bad luck.
In 2005 Chellsie was finally healthy and she won the Gold medal in the AA and silver medals on bars and beam.
In 06 Chellsie led the AA in the prelims and was on her way to being only the second gymnast from the US to win back to back AA Gold medals but she got hurt in team finals and never had the chance to compete. She then had to withdraw from the event finals she made.
In 07 she was injured and not named to the team after competing floor at Nationals.
We all know what happened in 08 (Injured before prelims at the Olympics) but if you had watched Chellsie from Nationals to trials the improvement was ten fold. Who knows what she would have pulled out of her bag of tricks by the time the Olympics had come around. She fell in prelims off bars but I don’t think a healthy Chellsie would have made that mistake.
Others have had injuries at key times like Shannon in 92, 95 and 96 and Nastia in 07 and many people love to say Nastia would have passed Shannon for a world medal count if she had been healthy in 07 (if you ask me she got lucky she was put on that team in the first place for one event. This never would have been allowed for anyone else) but these people never remember Shannon’s injuries that kept her out of 3 world championships. Both of these gymnasts had a lot of success that kept impressive medal counts down but Chellsie’s injuries kept Chellsie out which is even more heart breaking in the “What if” department.
In 06 Chellsie could have easily won the AA, beam title and a medal on bars or floor. In 07 Chellsie could have won an AA medal, Bars, beam or floor medal and in 08 Chellsie might have made the podium in the AA . Nastia fell off bars in the prelims and still scored a bit higher then Chellsie in team finals but Chellsie’s floor was miles ahead of Nastia and her beam on par so it would have been very close if she had her DTY) She could have had a beam medal or a floor medal also.
That is a possible total of 12 more medals Chellsie could have had and that doesn’t even bring into consideration the 2004 Olympics. It might not be plausible she would win all those medals but it was certainly possible.
Tags: Chellsie memmel