One great performance does not a champion make. And one bad performance does not Olympic dreams break. Gabby Douglas went from bars specialist to all around threat with her great performance at the AT&T American Cup. There has been much anticipation over the last two weeks for this “show down” between Jordyn Wieber and Gabby this weekend at the Kellogg’s Pacific Rim Championship. That show down quickly became a one woman show when Gabby crashed on her first event. Jordyn put up one of her best performances yet.
Gabby went on to have a fantastics bars set and qualified for bars finals in first. However, she fell on the beam once and off the beam once as she competed her recently upgraded routine. She scratched floor as her ankle was sore from vault. In all fairness to Gabby, she did not look like last year’s head case during the Visa Championships. She was just off on her skills. She kept it together for the most part. In fact, watching it close up on tv (vs. in person), it did seem that her ankle was bothering her during the routine. It is still to be seen in the future if she can perform under pressure. But I don’t think she has really lost much in Marta’s eyes. According to Blythe at the GymExaminer,
Martha suggested that Gabrielle Douglas’s poor performance was due to her trying a bit too much of her difficulty all at one time. She was “overpressured” Martha said, first by having done so well in New York two weeks ago and then being expected to do it all again here, and Douglas is a gymnast who needs to feel “absolutely secure” in her routines to do them very well.
Martha suggests that dramatic changes (apparently Liang Chow wanted to introduce even more difficulty into her bar routine, giving her a 6.9 D-score, but that was seen as a little too much, so some of the difficulty was taken out at the last minute) suddenly don’t work with Douglas, and that Chow may still be getting to know his athlete and what works for her.
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I would say Gabby is still an “It girl” in Marta’s eyes, who just needs a little more time and experience. And the rest of the season will give her that! Besides, as our current top US bar worker- who put in a great bars routine even when everything else was going poorly- it will take a whole lot more to ruin Gabby’s Olympic chances than a missed vault or beam routine.