Gymnast Gabby Douglas soars to women’s all-around gold

Liz Clarke/Washington Post

LONDON — It took tremendous courage for Gabby Douglas to move away from home at 14, leaving her beloved mother and siblings behind in Virginia Beach, to train with a world-class coach who would push her to excel.

And it took untold practice, sacrifice and pain for Douglas and Liang Chow to transform this better-than-average gymnast with bigger-than-average dreams into a bona-fide Olympian in less than two years’ time.

Thursday at the London Games, Douglas demonstrated that the world likely hasn’t seen the limit of what this uncommonly self-possessed youngster can do by winning the sport’s most prestigious title: the individual all-around Olympic gold medal.

Douglas seized the lead at the outset with the world’s most difficult vault and then stood tall, at 4-feet-11, to fend off a charge by two formidable Russians, delivering a performance that was packed with power, grace and a palpable joy that women’s gymnastics sorely lacks.

“You just have to not be afraid and go out there and just dominate,” Douglas said afterward, a stuffed Olympic mascot under one arm, a bouquet of flowers in one hand and an Olympic gold medal around her neck. “You have to go out there and be a beast. Because if you don’t, you’re not going to be on the top.”

Douglas, who finished with 62.232 points, became the third consecutive American woman to win the coveted individual all-around gold, following Nastia Liukin, the 2008 Beijing champion, and Carly Patterson, who triumphed at the 2004 Athens Games.

She’s also the first African-American to win the all-around title. It was Douglas’s second gold medal in 48 hours, coming on the heels of the U.S. women’s team championship Tuesday.

Read full article at The Washington Post.

~ by Rafael Martel on August 2, 2012.

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