GABBY DOUGLAS EMBRACES OPPORTUNITY
On Thursday, having already helped her team claim the women’s gymnastics team gold medal,
This is history in the making, a 16-year-old taking her own shot at Olympic immortality, and it would culminate a remarkable journey for a gymnast who has been ascending to the top of this sport since the spring.
Douglas first flashed her growing possibilities in May in New York when she bested the score of the darling of American gymnastics, Jordyn Wieber, at the American Cup. She did not win because she’d competed as an alternate, and even then the whispers swirling around that success were that she only scored so well because it did not count.
Once the pressure tightened its grip on her, the thinking went, she would falter.
Then, at the U.S. Olympic trials in San Jose, where the pressure was absolutely immense, she took home the highest score. Suddenly the little girl who was supposed to struggle in Wieber’s shadow was morphing into the powerhouse of the U.S. team. By the time Wieber faltered in the qualifying round Sunday and failed to qualify for the all-around finals, Douglas had become America’s best hope for that gold medal.
And all that talk she could not handle the pressure? Just words in the wind, so far.
“Yeah, everyone will put pressure on me, but you try to ignore it, perform, have fun,” she said this week. “I enjoy this.”
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