20-year old American artistic gymnast Gabby Douglas missed out the podium at the U.S. Championships this weekend, but that will not stop her from trying to achieve a historic feat in Rio – to be the first-ever female gymnast to win two consecutive Olympic All-around titles.
“Obviously I didn’t do my best, but I think finishing fourth is definitely going to motivate me,” Douglas told reporters after the competition on Sunday.
The reigning Olympic individual all-around champion claimed the fourth place behind three-time world champion Simone Biles, Olympic veteran Aly Raisman and first-year Laurie Hernandez at the U.S. Championships on Sunday.
Despite the poor performance of the 20-year-old gymnast at the U.S. Championships this weekend, the women’s gymnastics national team coordinator Martha Karolyi was not bothered and remains confident with Douglas’ talent and abilities.
“Gabby, she has place for improvement, but I think she knows. I think it was good for her to see that we need to up it a tiny bit. She is the gymnast how in a fairly short time can gain much better consistency, so I trust that she will be in a better place in the trials,” the national team coordinator said.
And Douglas confirmed Karolyi’s statement.
“I gave a lot away, and I had a few mistakes,” the American artistic gymnast said. “Overall, I’m just going to move forward heading into Olympic trials and really focus on being consistent and strong, and really work hard in the gym.”
Douglas finished with 117.800 points at the two-day championships, 2.7 points behind her closest rival, the first-year senior Laurie Hernandez. While her mistake in the uneven bars event, (which was usually her strongest event) discouraged her a little bit, a strong finish on the balance beam (15.050) was a competition highlight.
“In my bar routine, I ended up really crooked and then I fell over the other way,” she explains. “I was like, ‘Oh! I never really do that. Snap!’ But it’s fine. It’s good.”
The reigning Olympic all-around champion describes her performance as a reminiscent of the 2012 U.S. Championships, where she fell off the balance beam – but immediately recovered and excelled in other events. She went on to dominate the 2012 Olympic trial and, at the 2012 Olympic Games, she won the individual all-around gold medal.
“It was kind of like déjà vu,” the 20-year-old athlete said.
As she proceeds to her training to prepare for the Olympic trials next week, Douglas says she is “feeling pretty confident.”
“I need to relax, stay calm and take deep breaths.” She added.
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