It would seem that Gabby Douglas has settled in to train at Buckeye Gymnastics in Powell, Ohio in her bid to defend her Olympic title at the 2016 Olympics. With the recent coaching changes, Douglas has pushed back her timeline to return to competition and will not compete in the P&G National Championships later this month. Nor will she petition to the World Team selection camp this fall, focusing on 2015 instead.
Kittia Carpenter is the girls’ team director at Buckeye Gymnastics, Gabby’s new gym. In an interview with USA Today Carpenter said, “She wants to come back looking as strong as she left and she didn’t feel she’s quite there yet.”
In addition to regaining her former skills, Douglas will need to update her routines and combinations to be consistent with the new Code of Points, which changes after each Olympics. And in order to be competitive, she will need to continue to increase her difficulty (start) values. Carpenter said she wants to add new skills on uneven bars and floor exercise to boost her start values.
Douglas assured the Associated Press earlier in the month, “I’m committed to Rio, I’m not going to let anything get in the way of that.” Carpenter echoed her belief in Douglas’ determination to make a run at the 2016 Olympics. “She’s training 30 hours a week, and is limiting her commercial and appearance commitments to one day a week.”
Marta Karolyi shared her opinions with USA Today on the matter saying, “Time will tell. I’m not crazy about lots of changes. I like stability and I know from my times when I was directing coaching gymnasts, I liked to develop a relationship with my gymnast. It takes time to develop those kinds of relationships.”
Karolyi is hopeful but cautious about the future. “I really hope — she is very talented and I was surprised at how well she came back after a big break. Physically, she was very fit. My wish is that she will be consistent in her training. And if that’s what she will do, I think she will be fine. But if she jumps up and down and left and right, it will be much harder.”
Liang Chow, Douglas’ former coach expressed sadness at her departure earlier in the month, but has been supportive of her decision to find new coaching. He commented on the situation to the Des Moines Register saying, “I’ve been coaching the sport for a number of years. And I went through many athletes. Some athletes stay with your program for a long, long period of time. Some athletes, they have a different approach as far as coaching style or your philosophies. I totally respect their own opinions — they have the right to choose their own coach.”
He went on to express his best wishes for her, “Of course, when you work together day in and day out, you’re going to miss her. I want her next chapter to be a successful one.”
Chow reiterated those sentiments on Friday after podium training at the Secret U.S. Classics. “I wish them the best of luck. We all have to move on. She has her dreams to achieve and I have my duties to perform.”
With so many people in her court rooting for her success, hopefully moving on and achieving her dreams of Rio is exactly what she will do.