Gabby Douglas is the world’s best female gymnast.
Let that soak in for a second…a 16-year-old from Virginia Beach with the nickname “The Flying Squirrel” is the best in the world.
Douglas won the granddaddy of them all in Olympic gymnastics: the all-around individual final. She registered a 62.232, beating out Russia’s Viktoria Komova (61.973) who won silver, and Aliya Mustafina (59.566) who took home bronze. American Aly Raisman tied with Mustafina, but lost the tiebreaker.
Douglas wasn’t supposed to be here. She registered the mark in qualifiers that knocked out world champion Jordyn Wieber. Only two contestants from each country can advance, and Wieber was the odd girl out.
The pressure was on Douglas to show her country that she deserved to be in the finals, and boy did she ever.
Douglas registered the very best score out of 24 contestants in both the vault (15.966) and high beam (15.500), while also registering the third best in the uneven bars (15.733) and fourth in the floor (15.033).
In other words, she had a near-flawless performance.
Still, her shot at a gold medal was very much up in the air, as she entered the final event—the floor exercise. With just a 0.326 lead, the stakes couldn’t have been higher. She pulled off a spectacular routine that wasn’t perfect, but was enough to nail down the gold.
The amount of pressure the 16-year-old was able to shake off is absolutely remarkable. Douglas seized the moment like a true champion.
Now, she is the first ever African-American to win the Olympic gold in women’s all-around (via Yahoo! Sports). Douglas is also the third American to win the event in the last three Olympics after Carly Patterson won in 2004 and Nastia Liukin in 2008.
The spotlight was squarely placed on her shoulders, and she passed the test with flying colors.
It's performances like this that make you swell with American pride.
Well done, Gabby and the entire U.S. women’s gymnastics team who won the team all-around final. You are forever etched into the Olympic history books.
Moreover, it’s Gabby Douglas’ star that will be shinning the brightest.