Before the women’s gymnastics Olympic trials began, it seemed silly that anyone would ask if Gabby Douglas made the Olympic team.
But after a fall from the beam on the first of two nights of competition, Douglas found herself in an unfamiliar position: seventh place.
Admittedly, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist hasn’t been quite herself as of late. For example, Douglas finished fourth at the national championships two weeks ago, and Gabby herself has said that her confidence isn’t quite as high as it once was.
But still, before the fall from the beam during the first night of competition, everyone thought it was obvious that Gabby Douglas would make the Olympic team.
Turns out, everyone was right. Gabby Douglas made the Olympic team and is headed to the 2016 Olympic Games.
“Everyone” included Olympic gold medalists Shannon Miller and Shawn Johnson, both of whom told People that they believed Douglas would be headed to her second Olympic Games, alongside fellow 2012 Olympic teammate Aly Raisman.
“I’m excited to see both of them back at the Olympic Games,” Miller told People. “They work hard and stay focused. That’s a big deal. People ask, ‘Why are you staying in when you’ve already done it and got a gold medal?’ Gabby has said there’s no ulterior motive other than ‘I really think I can do it! I love gymnastics and I’m not ready to give it up.’ That’s the best attitude you can have.”
In total, five women were named to the 2016 Olympic gymnastics team, including Simone Biles, Douglas, Laurie Hernandez, Madison Kocian, and Aly Raisman.
Now 20-years-old, Gabby Douglas first made a name for herself as a gymnast when she joined the senior circuit in 2011, but she really began to gain fame outside of the gymnastics community shortly ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games. At the 2012 AT&T American Cup, Douglas put up a higher all-around score than Jordyn Wieber, who at the time was the defending all-around world champion.
Douglas ultimately made the 2012 Olympic team and solidified her fame with her performance at the London Olympic Games. Then 16 years old, Douglas was the only member of the Team USA squad to perform in each of the four events during the team competition. Gabby Douglas went on to win Olympic gold in the all-around event, making her the first African-American woman to do so.
— U.S. Olympic Team (@TeamUSA) July 9, 2016
According to gymnastics analysts, a lot of factors helped propel Gabby Douglas to her second Olympic team, despite her underwhelming performance heading into the Olympic trials. Douglas’ grit and ability to perform under pressure helped secure her spot, as did her Olympic experience. Additionally, Douglas’s skills on the uneven bars likely contributed the her ability to make the Olympic team, wrote Nancy Armour of USA Today Sports, as did her skill set in other disciplines.
“Unlike two of the top women on uneven bars, Madison Kocian and Ashton Locklear, Douglas can also contribute on balance beam, floor exercise and, should she get her Amanar back, on vault,” Armour wrote. “It’s more than that, however. Douglas has a history of putting it all together when it matters.”
Gabby Douglas’ people say she always is better when it really matters. Her near-perfect vault just now proves the point, I guess.
— Mark Purdy (@MercPurdy) July 11, 2016
For Douglas, it mattered on Sunday during the final day of the women’s gymnastics Olympic team trials.
What do you think of the outcome of the women’s gymnastics Olympic team trials? Did you expect Gabby Douglas to make the Olympic team? Why or why not?
[Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images Sport]