Twenty-year-old Olympian Gabby Douglas took home another title on Saturday, March 5, 2016 at the 2016 AT&T American Cup held at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, leaving her one step closer to the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Douglas totaled 60.165 points, which was just .466 over teammate Maggie Nichols in the competition. This event was the same one that put her on the path to win all-around gold at the 2012 Olympics four years ago.
The only difference is that this time her score counts. In the 2012 competition, Douglas’s scores were not counted because she was an alternate. She posted the highest score of the competition, nonetheless, and made a statement that put her on the road to London gold.
“It was kind of the start of my career and I really felt so confident and it kind of clicked in my head, saying, ‘Hey, you know what, I actually do have a shot and I actually do have a chance of making the Olympic team,’” Douglas said. “It definitely boosted by self-confidence up.”
The former Olympian is hoping to be on the U.S. Woman’s Gymnastics Olympic Team once again, and she gave us a preview at the AT&T American Cup. Her performance included a stellar balance beam routine that won her the competition.
If Douglas plans to return to the Olympics, she will have to beat Simone Biles at the P&G Championships and Olympic trials this summer.
The 2016 Olympic opening ceremony is exactly five months away and is premiering in Rio de Janeiro in August.
Many are doubting Douglas’s skills because she is attempting to place in the Olympics for a second time. Since 1980, only six American women have gone on to compete in a second Olympics. No woman has repeated as gold medalist since Věra Čáslavská in 1968.
“I think that she will be able to return to the Olympics because she had given up so much to make it the first time, that they know she will work hard and do her best which would help her make it a second time,” says sophomore Alyssa Perschilli.
On Saturday afternoon, there was something very familiar about Douglas’ steady and professional performance. The pressure spiked, the stakes were raised, and there Douglas was, atop the leaderboard for the first time since that day in London nearly four years ago that transformed her from a child prodigy to a worldwide history maker.
It has also come to the attention of U.S. national team coordinator Martha Karolyi that the previous reserved teenager has been replaced by a more mature, more confident 20-year-old woman whose ability to deliver in the moment remains as strong as ever.
“I have supported Gabby Douglass since the start because she is such a great inspiration to this generation, and I have a good feeling that she will make it into the Olympics once again,” says sophomore Cherlean Darko.
Yes, there is work that has to be done if Douglas wants to chase down Biles in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics this summer; however, having been through the process once, Douglas knows the road only gets more intense from here on out. She claims she feels stronger mentally, and she has no doubts about how she is making her comeback.
How do you feel about Douglas being one of the few women that return to the Olympics for the second time?