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Gabby Douglas: Why US Sensation Is Olympian to Watch on Day 5

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 29:  Gabrielle Douglas of the United States competes in the floor exercise in the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team qualification on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena on July 29, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Andrew GouldFeatured ColumnistJuly 31, 2012

Gabby Douglas will gain all the glory at the London Games.

The 16-year-old gymnast faces the heavy burden of leading her nation to a gold medal in team competition, a feat that the formidable squad from 2008 could not achieve at the Beijing Games. 

In a summer that figured to revolve around Jordyn Wieber, Douglas quickly stole the show by besting her teammates during the U.S. Olympic Trials. By placing third in the floor exercise and winning the uneven bars and all-round competition, Douglas put her name on the map.

Now is her time to shine.

A year removed from winning the World Championships in Tokyo, Douglas must again play a pivotal role in reeling in a gold medal for the U.S. 

After failing to qualify in the individual all-around event since only two athletes can represent a nation, Wieber will need to shake off the heartbreaking snub quickly. While athletes are expected to shake off failure and disappointment instantly, Wieber is still just a kid.

If Wieber cannot bounce back, Team USA will rely on Douglas to lead the way during the Games. Even if Wieber recovers, expectations are high for Douglas, who looks poised to back up the hype with a strong showing in London.

Douglas has also felt the wrath of the rule limiting a country to two finalists. The provision prevented her from seeking a World Championship in individual all-around competition, despite qualifying in fifth place.

 

Even though she received little recognition as one of her squad's top gymnasts, she fought back and flourished during the trials, showing signs of a star in the making.

The young gymnast is a versatile threat who can earn several medals for her country. While she has typically shined on the uneven bars, her talent on floor and a strong showing on the beam in preliminary action cannot be overlooked. 

As the U.S. looks to pass China in the total medal count, it will look to capture an event that China won in its home country four years ago. As a capable performer in all events, Douglas should keep her team near the top of the leaderboard with consistently high scores. 

Soon enough, Gabby Douglas will emerge as a household name throughout a nation always searching for a new star to idolize.

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