Gabby Douglas right on report for golden lapse | The Olympian

July 24, 2015 - Picnic Time

Gabby Douglas is exasperated. Again and again and again a fortifying women’s Olympic all-around champion emphatically slaps her right palm on one of a cruise tables that lay usually past a front list during Buckeye Gymnastics, a latest home in her winding career.

The 19-year-old isn’t angry, exactly. She’s usually over a doubt surrounding a “comeback” she insists isn’t a quip during all.

“I took a break,” Douglas says between laughs, pulsation on that bad list one some-more time. “It’s not like we late for 30 years. we mean, come on. I’m still young. I’m still fresh.”

Competing in subsequent year’s Olympics in Rio de Janiero was always partial of her plan. The day after she done story in London as a initial African-American to strech a tip of her foe with a showstopping opening during a 2012 Games, Douglas and then-coach Liang Chow talked about celebrating again 4 years later.

She usually didn’t suppose perplexing to turn a initial lady to repeat in scarcely 50 years like this: in a new gym with a new coach, sky-high expectations and a existence film organisation from a Oxygen Network on palm to constraint it all.

With about a year to go until a fire is lit, Douglas will contest in a U.S. for a initial time given a 2012 Olympic Trials on Saturday when she takes a building for a Secret Classic in Chicago.

It will be an phenomenon for Gabby Douglas 2.0: a older, wiser and decidedly some-more jacked chronicle of a lady with a torpedo routines and a kilowatt grin who won over a universe and an avalanche of sponsors on that shining Aug day 3 years ago.

On a surface, this weekend is a tuneup for a inhabitant championships subsequent month. Beneath, however, is a query to overpower a doubt that surrounds Douglas’ bid to turn a initial repeat Olympic all-around bullion medalist given Vera Caslavska of Czechoslovakia in 1968.

“When people contend we can’t do something, we adore it,” Douglas said. “I usually say, ‘all right, let’s go. Let’s get it.’ I’m some-more confident. More courageous. More warrior-minded.”

Douglas will need to rest on that genius heavily if she wants to soar to heights even a all-time greats — from Nadia Comaneci to Mary Lou Retton to Nastia Liukin — never reached.

All 3 Olympic champions attempted to extend their careers following their golden moment. Comaneci came a closest to adding a second all-around gold, earning china in Moscow in 1980. Retton late hardly a year after her delight during Los Angeles in 1984. Liukin’s late bid for a mark on a 2012 organisation finished when her stroke shoulders finally pronounced “enough” during Trials.

For all a beauty and eye-popping athleticism, gymnastics is unequivocally about a grind. The supernova Douglas became in London was chiseled during scarcely a decade of a relentless and infrequently mind-numbing routine, one she blissfully strike postponement on after stepping off a lectern with bullion draped around her neck.

There was a post-Olympic tour. The book. The autobiography that incited into a made-for-TV movie. A solid tide of appearances and vocalization engagements. The perks that come with excellence are also among a biggest obstacles to recapturing it.

“You feel like we have to choose,” Liukin said. “Are we going to take advantage of these opportunities or are we going to train?”

Douglas has remained useful even if a devise she mapped out after London took a few astonishing turns. She left Chow’s gym in Iowa to reunite with her family in Los Angeles in 2013. Barely 6 months after Douglas was behind with Chow to start a slight of prepping for Rio usually to leave abruptly final summer in hunt of a uninformed start.

One problem: she couldn’t find a new coach. Her mother, Natalie Hawkins, stresses a emanate wasn’t personal though practical. For all of Douglas’ talent, holding her in also comes with fundamental risk. Everything she does going brazen will be judged opposite what she achieved during that silly night on Aug. 2, 2012.

The bar is set ridiculously high. So is a vigour to transparent it.

Her subsequent section is commencement during a abounding if medium converted room in a north Columbus suburb. Linked with longtime Buckeye Gymnastics manager Kittia Carpenter by a mutual acquaintance, Douglas arrived final summer for a two-week audition that incited into something some-more permanent.

She’s opposite than a lady everybody watched 3 years ago. She’s grown scarcely 3 inches and push-upped her approach to a kind of arm clarification that could best be described as “Serena Williams-lite.”

After a initial “oh my gosh, is that Gabby Douglas?” gapes that seemed to follow her attainment during Buckeye, Douglas shortly staid into a new stroke with Carpenter, who has spent some-more than 30 years as an athlete, manager and judge. Carpenter disturbed she was removing a diva. The concerns shortly evaporated.

“There was never unequivocally a doubt on either she was serious,” Carpenter said. “It usually seemed so natural.”

It positively looks that way. Douglas returned to foe in March, when she placed fourth during a Jesolo Cup in Italy behind 3 other Americans, including Olympic teammate Aly Raisman and two-time universe champion Simone Biles. In a approach it was a ideal start, understated though promising.

So a slight continues in rather sanctified anonymity. While Douglas worked by a world-class lamp slight final week, a organisation of beginners finishing adult gymnastics stay abandoned her completely. It’s usually Gabby being Gabby, drilling by another six-hour day during a finish of another six-day week on a trail to another Olympics.

And that, Douglas insists, is because she’s doing this. Not for a money. Not to extend her time in a spotlight.

Douglas doesn’t design to be a same lady who flew so facilely in London. She’s different. Gymnastics is different. Biles, a good friend, is now a best on a planet. But a lot can occur in 13 months.

“The vigour is on, and we adore pressure,” Douglas said. “It creates diamonds.”

And maybe — usually maybe — gold.

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