Two days after helping the United States women's gymnastics team win an all-around gold medal, rising star Gabby Douglas has now captured a gold of her own in the individual all-around competition at the 2012 Olympics.
She won with an overall score of 62.232 to edge Victoria Komova of Russia.
It's been a whirlwind couple of months for Douglas. It wasn't long ago that she was just another member of Team USA competing in the shadow of defending world champion Jordyn Wieber, but as her confidence began to rise, her results markedly improved.
Everything came to a head last month at the U.S. Olympic Trials when Douglas scored higher than Wieber in the all-around competition to earn an automatic berth in the Olympics. It was her breakout performance and turned a lot of heads.
The victory was a sign that she wasn't simply just another member of one of the deepest American teams ever. Instead, she asserted herself as one of the best gymnasts in the entire world, and her medal-winning performance on Thursday proves that.
Wieber didn't qualify for the individual all-around due to a rule that allows a maximum of two competitors per country in the competition, so fans didn't get to see the much-ballyhooed showdown between the team's two biggest stars.
While it was obviously a massive disappointment for Wieber, who was long considered the all-around favorite, it also put extra pressure on Douglas and Aly Raisman to carry the load for the Americans.
That's where Douglas' consistently positive attitude gave her an advantage.
During the entire process, it's been rare to see her without a smile on her face. It helped her get beyond all the hype and just focus on executing her routines.
The 16-year-old Virginia native has shown an incredible amount of poise and maturity, both clear signs of a champion. While many people her age are enjoying some vacation from school, she's out winning Olympic medals.
It will probably be a while before she gets a chance to sit back and soak in all of her accomplishments, since the entire team will become popular talk-show guests in the weeks after the Games. Hopefully she gets that chance sooner rather than later, though.
A lot of athletes would have gotten complacent as a key piece of a dominant team, but Douglas wanted more. Through hard work and determination, she was able to make it happen and deserves all of the praise she receives in the coming months.
After all, she's now the proud owner of two Olympic gold medals and still might not be done.
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