Olympic Gymnastics 2012: Pressure on Gabby Douglas Sky-High in All-Around Final

Eric BallFeatured ColumnistAugust 2, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Gabrielle Douglas of the United States performs on the floor exercise 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 Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

The 2012 Summer Olympics are full of pressure, but the amount placed on Gabby Douglas Thursday night is on a completely different level.

Did I mention she was 16 years old?

The Virginia Beach, VA native has been downright spectacular thus far in London, and was more than deserving of a spot in the all-around finals which are scheduled for tonight in primetime (9 p.m. to 1 a.m. ET) on NBC.

This is the cream of the crop for gymnastics, and it took a shocking upset for Douglas to get here.

By now you are familiar with what happened at the qualifying event on Sunday. Douglas barely beat out world champion Jordyn Wieber, who proceeded to tear up uncontrollably, realizing her dream of competing in the top event of her sport was destroyed. Only the top two from one country could advance and despite placing fourth overall, Wieber was third amongst Americans.

It was certainly one of the most emotion moments of the Olympics thus far.

Douglas beat Wieber by .233, and earned the second spot in the finals for the Americans alongside Aly Raisman.

But Douglas doesn’t owe anybody an apology. She earned the right to be here with 23 other contestants, yet that doesn’t mean the scrutiny isn’t going to be placed squarely on her shoulders and not Raisman's, who would have advanced either way due to her higher score.

Douglas was considered an uneven bar specialist entering London, but she has shattered that notion in London. Her performance in the team all-around final was incredible, and one of the main reasons the U.S. team captured gold on Tuesday.

If she can keep the gap close on the floor, it will come down to the vault and balance beam. Douglas has shown major strides in the beam, and one last strong performance will put her in prime position to capture the gold.

She also will be donning the red, white, and blue knowing that Americans have won gold in the last two Olympics in this particular event (Carly Patterson 2004, Nastia Liukin 2008). The bar has been set (bad pun) and one of the two Americans is expected to win.

In addition to the monumental amount of pressure on her shoulders, she’ll have to compete against Russians Victoria Komova and Aliya Mustafina, who are going to compete with an extra sense of motivation after having a lackluster outing in the team all-around final on Tuesday.

Douglas is looked at as the girl who denied Wieber from the chance to win gold. Now is the "Flying Squirrel's” chance to stamp her own legacy with a win in the all-around. In one of the most significant events of the Games, all eyes will be on Douglas.

Did I mention she is 16?