Gabby Douglas: A Star Will Be Born in Women's Gymnastics All-Around Final

Kyle StanzelCorrespondent IIIJuly 30, 2012

SAN JOSE, CA - JULY 01:  Gabrielle Douglas competes on the beam during day 4 of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team Trials at HP Pavilion on July 1, 2012 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Despite winning the automatic bid at the U.S. Olympic Trials, there was still a feeling in the world of gymnastics that Gabby Douglas was the second-best gymnast in America behind Jordyn Wieber.

After Wieber's stunning letdown in the all-around qualifying, Douglas will finally have the opportunity to create her own legend when she competes for the all-around gold medal on Thursday.

Gabby placed third at the qualifying behind teammate Aly Raisman and Russian Viktoria Komova, but you can bet that she is going to give everything she has in the final.

Nicknamed "The Flying Squirrel," Douglas has been waiting for an opportunity like this since she started training in gymnastics at the age of six.

Her calm, even demeanor is an asset that escapes many of the young girls competing on the big stage, but Gabby rarely seems flustered in the spotlight.

With Wieber now out of the picture, Douglas is now the popular favorite in the competition and the pressure on her come Thursday will be enormous.

Yet while Gabby seems unflappable in the spotlight, Wieber's letdown begs the question, why can't it happen to her?

The answer is that Gabby Douglas is rising to the top of her game at exactly the right time, and the only thing that can stop her from reaching the gold is herself.

Jordyn Wieber has always been the top gymnast in every competition she has entered, and often times this pushed Douglas to the silver medal position.

Arguably Douglas' best individual performance to date was at the 2012 VISA Championships when she scored a 121.700 in the all-around. Once again Wieber had just enough to top "The Flying Squirrel" when she posted a 121.900.

Although her road to the gold medal will obviously be easier without Wieber participating, the story shouldn't be about who will be missing from the final.

What makes Douglas the favorite to take the all-around gold along with her poise and focus, is her lack of any real weakness.

One of the best gymnasts in the world on the uneven bars, Douglas has a great chance to take a gold in that category and should certainly reach the podium.

Teammate McKayla Maroney is expected to take the gold medal in the vault, but Douglas matched her qualifying-best score of 15.900.

She also had the best balance beam score for Team USA in qualifying and showed a superb floor routine at the U.S. Olympic Trials.

In 2008 it was Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson winning gold and silver in the all-around final and cementing their place as stars in gymnastic history.

This year in London it is Gabby Douglas' opportunity to become a star, and you can bet "The Flying Squirrel" will pounce at the chance to take her legend to new heights.