Announced as an Olympian in February and demoted to alternate in June, Dutch gymnast Wyomi Masela told IG the outpouring of support she has received over the past month has helped with her heartache over London.
"I've got many compliments about how I've been so brave and good," said Masela, who trains at club BosanTON Almelo. "I'm happy many people are thinking about me."
In February, the Royal Dutch Gymnastics Federation (KNGU) announced Masela would be the nation's sole female artistic gymnast at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. But in a reversal of fate, original alternate Céline van Gerner (Sportstad Heerenveen) is now headed to the Olympics in London.
"I was called June 13 at 2 in the afternoon," Masela recalled of the moment she learned she would not be a 2012 Olympian.
Wyomi Masela (Netherlands)
Masela's original appointment came after her successful performance at January's Olympic test event in London, where she won the bronze medal on vault. The Dutch women missed qualifiying a full team to the Olympics, finishing eighth at the test event, but were granted one individual berth to the Olympic Games.
However, van Gerner missed the test event due to an ankle injury. She filed suit against the KNGU in April, arguing the selection was premature and that she should be granted more time to prove herself. A judge agreed and said the decision should be made following more competitive events, including the European championships in May and two FIG Challenger Cups in June.
At the European championships in Brussels, Masela finished sixth on vault and van Gerner fifth on uneven bars. Van Gerner won uneven bars and balance beam at the FIG Challenger Cup held June 2-3 in Maribor, and won uneven bars June 10 in Ghent. Masela tweaked her knee on vault in Maribor and withdrew from the competition in Ghent.
A similar situation also occurred on the Dutch men's side. Jeffrey Wammes successfully sued for more time after Epke Zonderland was named Olympian in February. Wammes, however, also suffered a knee injury in Maribor but announced he was withdrawing from the selection. Zonderland, the gold medalist on high bar in Ghent, was reconfirmed as the Dutch choice for London.
Masela filed her own lawsuit against the KNGU at the end of June but lost, with the judge ruling the federation had followed proper guidelines in appointing van Gerner.
"I'm not happy with the decision because in February I was chosen for the Olympics first and now this happened to me," she said. "I can't do something about what happened but I'm very disappointed."
Still training as an alternate, Masela said she is grateful for the support she is receiving from friends and fans as she considers trying for the 2016 Olympic Games.
"They've also inspired me to go further, but I think now I still have to overcome this decision," she said. "I hope I've still got the physical and mental energy to go to the next Olympics."
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