US Olympic Gymnastics Team 2012: 5-Step Plan for Gabby Douglas' All-Around Gold
After the U.S. Olympic Women’s Gymnastics Trials in San Jose, Calif., there’s no question that Gabby Douglas is going to be a key part in Team USA’s quest for gold.
Although that might seem unfair, it’s really not that surprising. Wieber is the defending world champion and has consistently won the majority of domestic competitions this year.
Douglas proved, though, that she has what it takes to beat Wieber. The big question is, will she be able to beat Wieber out for the all-around gold?
It’s possible, it’s definitely possible—but it’s going to take some work. Here’s my five-step plan for what Gabby Douglas needs to win the all-around gold medal.
1. Kill the Bars
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Douglas is called the "Flying Squirrel" because of the height she gets on the uneven bars.
When she performs her release moves and jumps from bar to bar, she can get up high.
That's the type of gymnastics people love to watch, when they are so worried she is going to fall but so thrilled when she nails it.
Her acrobatics on the bars can be key for her, but she has to make sure she does not falter.
There have been a few moves she has struggled on during previous competitions, and if she wants the all-around gold, she needs to nail her routine.
Her previous face-offs with Wieber have come down to tenths of a point, and the uneven bars is where she can gain or lose that difference.
2. Gain Consistency: Beam, Beam, Beam
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One of Douglas' biggest struggles has been consistency, specifically on the balance beam.
She has had a few key slip-ups that have been the difference in her beating out Wieber in the past.
Douglas had a lead heading into Day 2 of Visa Nationals before stumbling on the beam.
She nearly suffered a similar letdown on the very same apparatus during the final day of Trials.
Luckily for Douglas, she saved herself and scored a 14.850. That was enough to beat Wieber once, but will it be enough to beat her again?
Douglas needs to overcome whatever fear she may have on the beam and ensure she can hit that routine consistently.
She has a huge scoring potential, but if she makes a silly mistake, that means nothing and Wieber beats her out.
3. Beat the International Pressure
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A big eyebrow-raiser about this squad is the youth and lack of experience, even though four of the five competitors were on the gold-medal 2011 World Championships squad.
Douglas is one of those competitors, and it must be acknowledged that her top individual finish was fifth on the uneven bars.
That was last fall, though, and Douglas has grown a lot since then.
She also competed at the 2012 Kellogg Pacific Rim Championships, where she took gold on the uneven bars.
At the City of Jesolo Trophy in 2011, she took second on the floor exercise, tied for third on the beam and was fourth in the all-around and on the vault.
During her first-ever international competitions at the 2010 Pan American Games, she won the uneven bars.
The Olympic stage is all the top competitors, though, and Douglas needs to step it up on all her events to win an all-around gold.
She needs to conquer any possible international demons along the way.
4. Peak at the Right Time
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Douglas has been consistently getting better during the past few competitions, which proves that she is doing everything right to peak at the correct time.
Obviously, she should be doing her best gymnastics in London—that is how she will win the all-around gold.
That was the story for Nastia Liukin in 2008, and she finally peaked in Beijing to edge out Shawn Johnson for the gold medal.
Jordyn Wieber has been consistently doing well, but Douglas just keeps getting better.
Intense workouts, where she does not overdo it is the key for Douglas to peak in London.
5. Keep the Spunk
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My favorite thing about Douglas is her personality.
A lot of times, these gymnasts act incredibly grown up.
I don’t blame them. I mean, they have been through a lot at such a young age.
But it’s important to remember they are still teenagers and should be there to have fun, even though winning usually overwhelms them as the top priority.
Douglas seems to have great support, which was shown by her family wearing pink shirts to match her pink leotard during the first day of the Olympic Trials. That’s the spirit to have.
After Douglas won trials and her automatic bid to London, a TV announcer interviewed Douglas and reminded her that she said she would do a "happy dance" if she was named to the Olympic Team.
So Douglas did the Dougie on national television for the entire country to see. Douglas proved she was able to have fun.
In this Associated Press article, it talks about how Douglas wants to develop an accent in London.
"I'm hoping I can catch an accent," she said in an interview with the Associated Press. "I've always wanted an accent."
That’s a good side goal to have to winning gold medals, and it’s key to have a fun spirit that takes the edge off in such a high-pressured situation.