All-Around Gold Would Make Gabby Douglas Most Decorated Gymnast in US History

Emily Bayci@emilybayciContributor IIIAugust 1, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Gabrielle Douglas of the United States performs on the floor exercise as her team cheers her on in the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Gabby Douglas is on top of the world.

Everyone was worried about her inconsistency and how she would perform on the Olympic stage. She has proven herself as a warrior during the first two days of Olympic gymnastics competition.

She’s had problems with shakiness on beam, but showed no fear during qualifications and the team finals and will be competing in the beam for an individual medal. She had one of the strongest vaults of her life during team finals, her floor routine had the audience rocking out and, as usual, she got massive height on her bars routine—that’s what gave her the nickname "Flying Squirrel" after all.

If Douglas can pull off the all-around gold medal, which she has the full potential to do, then she will be the most successful American gymnast. 

Move over Mary Lou Retton and Shannon Miller, the "Flying Squirrel" has come to play. 

When "The Magnificent Seven" competed and won Team USA’s only other gold medal in 1996, there were three participants in the all-around. None of them even medaled—Shannon Miller finished eighth, Dominique Moceanu took ninth and Dominique Dawes was 17th. 

None of the three American women who claim all-around gold medals to their name have team gold medals. Nastia Liukin (2008), Carly Patterson (2004) and Retton (1984) were all on silver-medal teams.

If an American women can win the gold on Wednesday, then she can realistically call herself the most decorated gymnast in U.S. history. Both Raisman and Douglas have a strong shot, but the honor is really Douglas’ to lose.

Douglas has consistently been one of the top all-around performers in the past few months and has constantly beat out Raisman. All summer, Douglas has been focused on winning that all-around gold in London—she just isn’t duking it out with Raisman anymore.  

The best part of everything is how, after the all-around, Douglas will have two more shots to win gold—uneven bars and balance beam.

An all-around win by Douglas would help Team USA stake its claim as the current gymnastics powerhouse. It also could be the beginning of a gymnastics medal sweep for the Americans (McKayla Maroney on vault, Douglas or Rasiman on bars, Raisman or Wieber on floor and Douglas or Raisman on beam).

If Douglas fails to win the all-around gold, she will simply go down in history as another one of the "Fab Five" or "Fierce Five", whichever nickname happens to stick.

There’s nothing wrong with that, but Douglas can do better.