Iowa’s Gabby Douglas, Back in Action Monday: London 2012 Olympics Women's Gymnastics Schedule
What's ahead for "Our Gabby?" U.S. Women's Gymnastics Team schedule.
Our Gabby – and she is “ours,” as in Iowa’s – gets a short break in gymnastics action at the London Olympics after a golden performance Thursday in the women’s all-around competition.
But the world is also laying claim to Douglas, who moved to West Des Moines from her home in Virginia Beach two years ago to train with Coach Liang Chow, who’s becoming an Olympic legend himself after coaching Shawn Johnson to Olympic gold four years ago at Chow’s Gymnastics and Dance Institute.
Johnson won a silver medal in the all-around competition in 2008, as well as the gold on the balance beam.
North Greenwich Arena, where Douglas vaulted, twisted and danced her way to gold, turned into Club Gabby Thursday.
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The New York Times’ Juliet Macur wrote that even before she finished her floor exercise, “she flashed her irrepressible grin, and the crowd loved it. Fans clapped along and roared, knowing full well that they were looking at the gymnast who was likely the new Olympic champion.”
When it was over and the gold was hers, she endeared herself to the crowd even more, Macur reported: “... Douglas stepped onto the raised floor, put her hand on her heart and soaked in the crowd’s adulation. Fans chanted “U-S-A” and wildly waved American flags. Her coach, Liang Chow, hugged her again and again.”
Can She Do It Again?
Will she bring four gold medals home to Iowa? She’s halfway there after helping the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team win gold Tuesday, something they hadn’t accomplished since 1996.
She competes in the finals on the uneven bars Monday at 8:50 a.m. Iowa time (2:50 p.m. London time) and the balance beam, Tuesday at 8:47 a.m. Iowa time (2:47 p.m. London time).
In winning the gold medal, she joined an elite group of U.S. gymnasts Thursday, becoming only the fourth in history to win an all-around gold medal. Nastia Liukin won the gold in the all-around in 2008, and Carly Patterson won it four years before that. The first Team USA gymnast to win the all-around gold was Mary Lou Retton in 1984.
She also made history as the first African-American gymnast ever to win the all-around gold in a predominantly white sport, and the first African-American gymnast to win any medal since Dominique Dawes won a bronze in the floor exercise in 1996.
"Someone mentioned that I was the first black American (to win the all-around gold), and I said, 'Oh yeah, I forgot about that!' I feel so honored," Douglas told Whiteside.
Dawes was a role model for Douglas growing up, and now she hopes to inspire others.
“My mother said you can inspire a nation,” she said.
Douglas is known as “The Flying Squirrel” because of her aerodynamics on the uneven bars, her specialty.
It “might be time to get Gabby Douglas a new nickname,” The Associated Press wrote. “Olympic champ works.”
The AP said Douglas is poised to become the biggest star since Retton. “That smile alone is enough to make Madison Avenue swoon, and her personality might just be bigger than she is. … Throw in her sweet and sentimental backstory, and her two gold medals certainly won't be her only riches.”