Gabby Douglas: Enormous Pressure Is Only Thing in Way of All-Around Gold Medal

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistAugust 2, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Gabrielle Douglas of the United States looks on as she is introduced 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 Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The pressure on Gabby Douglas became 100 pounds heavier the second Jordyn Wieber failed to qualify for the women's gymnastics individual all-around final.

Wieber and Douglas were expected to duke it out for a gold medal, but now Douglas is Team USA's best hope. That's a ton of weight for a 16-year-old to bear, talented or not.

Douglas has a great deal of poise for her age. She was impeccable in Team USA's victory in the team final, and she's won individual accolades on other international stages. She young, but she's a winner.

The only difference is the gravity of the Olympic Games and the expectations of the American side. They just won their first gold medal since 1996, but that doesn't slake their thirst for individual recognition.

Wieber was supposed to carry that torch, but Aly Raisman's surprise performance in the preliminary rounds didn't allow Wieber to move through.

Raisman will contend for a medal, but Douglas is Team USA's leader. She's expected to medal, but a gold medal is what's truly anticipated.

She showed her grace in every rotation in team competition, and American fans expect that to carry over.

Failures on the men's side also factor into this equation.

The men's team failed to medal, finishing fifth in the team final. Danell Leyva earned a bronze medal in the men's individual all-around final, but more was expected from him in London.

Douglas' talent won't keep her from reaching her gold-medal dreams, but the weight of expectations could.