Aly Raisman: Tumbling her Way to Tears of Joy


Aly Raisman, the USA Team Captain led her team to a decisive, blow out victory Tuesday night. She contributed in two ways. By performing two great routines on beam and floor and by giving leadership and her calm presence to the rest of her teammates.

The place in the USA’s line up that was potentially the most problematic was Gabby Douglas on beam. As they began to prepare for bars, Aly gave Gabby a more than a pep talk. It was almost a sergeant giving orders that must be obeyed. Nothing negative Gabby. You can do this. Do not let in anything negative.  Gabby has said before that sometimes negative thoughts that she is not good enough or can’t do it creep into her mind. It is usually these thoughts that lead to her mistakes. Seems like it helped. Gabby did a stellar routine.

As Aly is reaching her dreams, the steadfast demeanor she keeps in competition has begun to slip. At each milestone she has reached – making the Olympic team, qualifying into the All-Around and winning a team gold- tears of joy have sprung forth. As Aly finished her floor routine, the last thing USA needed to claim their gold, the tears began to seep out before she even saluted the judges. As they watched the score board she kept mouthing, I can’t believe this.

She believes it now! Aly Raisman your incredible calm, your hard work and determination and your loving spirit have brought you to this point. Now go out tomorrow and reach your final goal – an All Around Olympic medal. We believe in you!

Gabby Douglas: The One Hit Wonder Becomes The All Around Rock


There was never any question on if Gabby Douglas would make the Olympic team. With the best bar routine in the country on a team with a deficit on bars, she was a lock. But the idea that she would be used on every single event in Team Finals would only have crossed the minds of her greatest and most loyal fans. After all, before the Olympic Trials, she had only had one all-around performance in her entire senior career without a fall, and even that performance had a major wobble. Up until Olympic qualifications, she had only performed one beam routine in her entire senior career that could be considered team finals worthy, and that was when she was an alternate. The talent and skill were undeniably there, but the nerves always seemed to get the best of her.

However, throughout this year, she seemed to get a little more in control of her nerves with every meet. A slow but steady growth of mental consistency to pair up with her incredible athletic abilities. A shining moment of mental strength came at her last American performance. She stood up on the podium as Jordyn Wieber performed her final vault. Jordyn’s score flashed just before Gabby saluted. Gabby knew in order to win, she had to absolutely hit her floor routine. Normally this would have amped her up, and she would fly out of her landings. But not this time. Calm and collected, Gabby nailed it.

Martha Karolyi told the press that Gabby thrives in the regimented training structure that is the USA’s way of preparing for the Olympics. She felt confident that a month without distractions between the Olympic Trials and the Olympics, Gabby would grow in mental strength. Gabby would come into the Olympics stronger than ever.

In qualifications, Gabby held it together, performing incredibly on vault, bars and beam. When it came to floor however, her old nerves crept in. She had a major mistake on her second pass and literally bounded out of bounds.

So, when it came to deciding the line up for team finals, the question of Gabby’s ability to put up four strong routines in one night crossed many people’s minds. It made absolute sense to put Gabby in on vault and of course, bars. On floor with McKayla Maroney’s injury and Kyla Ross’s low start value, there really was no other choice. But when it came to beam things got a little more murky.

Looking at qualifications, Gabby had the second highest beam score. To many, this was a no brainer. But to those that had watched Gabby wobble and fall on beam time after time, putting her up in a team finals seemed very risky. What’s more so, putting her up on all four events seemed even riskier. Like I said, there was only one time in her career she had ever hit all four events in the same night.

But if we have learned anything from last year’s dominant performance of untested rookies, when it comes to knowing the mental state of her athletes and the likely scoring in international competition, Martha knows best. And so, Gabby was the only American gymnast to be used in all four events in the team finals.  Gabby rose to the occasion and performed brilliantly. She didn’t just make it through cleanly. She put up four of the best routines she has ever done.

And so, in the competition that really counted, Gabby came into her own. No longer the one hit wonder bars start, Gabby has transformed into the all around team rock. Longtime “Dougie” fans would say they knew she could do it all along. I say, the proof is in the pudding. And it is pudding that I very happily eat.

Gabby Douglas, you were extraordinary. Thanks for making some incredible sacrifices to make your dreams – and ours- come true. You truly are a star.

All Photos Credit USA Gymnastics