The belief heading into the Olympic trials on Friday was that United States national team coordinator Martha Karolyi had her five already picked. At the very least, four spots seemed to be a given, and included in that four was the 2012 all-around Olympic champion—Gabby Douglas.
After Friday night, that no longer seems so certain.
Douglas was underwhelming on Friday—her night ending by falling off the balance beam on what's perceived to be a simple turn.
|Gabby Douglas' scores at Friday's trials|
The Olympic champ sits in seventh place in the all-around competition, with her beam score tied for 10th among the 14 gymnasts in San Jose, California.
Douglas is one gymnast who deserves the benefit of the doubt considering her experience and past success, but her recent performances could give Karolyi pause.
At the P&G Gymnastics Championships two weeks ago in St. Louis, Douglas finished fourth in the all-around but wasn't exactly at the top of her game.
"I think she performed under my expectations, and I think under her personal expectations," Karolyi told reporters Thursday. "The good thing is she wasn't pleased with it, and I'm hoping that she really will be eager to prove herself in this competition."
Douglas entered trials trying to change her approach—"Everyone said I looked angry," she told reporters Thursday—so her plan was to "enjoy" the process more.
Whether it was the mistakes or nerves, Douglas seemed tense Friday night. Afterward, she admitted she needs to be better.
It's hard to perform when doubt has crept into your mind, and Douglas made a move heading into these trials that suggests she's searching: changing coaches from Kittia Carpenter to Christian Gallardo.
Douglas told NBC analyst Tim Daggert she needed someone who could spot her, and that's why she went with Gallardo. Whether you believe that or not, the timing seems odd.
This is not the first time Douglas has showed weakness and had to redeem herself. She finished fifth at the 2015 P&G championships and then responded by finishing second to Simone Biles in the all-around at the world championships.
And when it comes to the all-around and women's gymnastics, second might as well be considered first when Biles is involved.
Douglas needs to find the resolve that helped her reclaim her stake as one of the world's top gymnasts last year. The good news is that she has another day to prove herself at trials, and the final standings do not determine who goes to Rio.
Instead, that's left up to Karolyi, who will announce the team at the conclusion of Sunday's trials.
Karolyi told reporters Thursday that she had in mind the ideal composition, but her gymnasts needed to "prove themselves."
"They need to show that they're able to handle the stress and their routines are very consistent," she said.
That could just be all talk, and there's no way she'd leave Douglas off her roster.
But after Friday, there's at least some doubt.