Gabby Douglas: Struggles in Individual Events a Shocking Finish in London Games

Josh SchochAnalyst IIIAugust 8, 2012

June 27, 2012; San Jose, CA, USA; Gabby Douglas stretches during the 2012 USA Gymnastics Olympic Team Trials at HP Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Gabby Douglas led the U.S. Olympic women's gymnastics team to a gold medal in London before winning the individual all-around competition as well. She was on top of the world after that, but she fell oh so far during the individual events...literally.

A fall on the balance beam and multiple errors on the uneven bars (her best event) finished her London Games on a low note.

The Flying Squirrel stole America's heart with her graceful performance, and seemingly all 300 million Americans were behind her during the individual events.

Unfortunately, she didn't do herself justice.

Douglas struggled on the uneven bars on Monday, finishing with a score of 14.900, which was dead last. She then tried to rebound on the balance beam on Tuesday but finished in seventh place out of eight after suffering a fall during her routine.

The charismatic 16-year-old from Virginia Beach has been in formal gymnastics since she was six, and finally realized her dream of being an Olympian this year.

The two gold medals in the all-around competitions (both team and individual) helped make her one of the most decorated gymnasts in U.S. history, and her personality made her one of the most likable.

After she did so well during her first two competitions, we expected more of the same from Douglas when she entered the individual events in bars and beam.

We couldn't have been more wrong.

To see one of the favorite Olympians from 2012 go out with last- and second-to-last place finishes was both shocking and depressing. She was so talented and inspiring—not least because she was the first African-American to win the individual all-around at the Olympics.

Unfortunately, Douglas burned out during the major competitions. She was exhausted (per CBS) by the time the bars rolled around, and must have been even more so on the beam.

"I think toward the end of the Olympics you get mentally and physically tired, just like drained," Douglas told the Associated Press after her bars final. "I try to fight through as much as I can."

While it was unlikely that Douglas would medal on the bars because she had such a low total possible score, it was surprising to see her come in eighth, just as it was to see her fall and come in seventh on the beam.

It's disappointing to see such a great athlete possibly finish her Olympic career with a last place finish and a fall, and it does not do the Flying Squirrel justice.