Gabby Douglas, whose mom hails from Gary, will lead gymnastics team
By NANCY ARMOUR The Associated Press July 2, 2012 11:22PM
Gabby Douglas, left, hugs her coach, Liang Chow after competing on the vault during the final round of the women's Olympic gymnastics trials, Sunday, July 1, 2012, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Updated: August 4, 2012 6:31AM
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Long called an underdog, Gabby Douglas likes her new label a whole lot more.
The 16-year-old with the spectacular uneven bars routine and personality to spare beat Jordyn Wieber for the first time Sunday night, winning the Olympic trials and the lone guaranteed spot for the London Games.
“Everyone was telling me you have this great potential and you can be on top,” said Douglas, who’s whose mom is from Gary and whose grandfather still lives in the city. “I didn’t believe that, but everyone was just telling me to believe in myself. I did and I’m kind of up on top and it’s amazing.”
The only thing more amazing would be to end up on top in London, the rest of her teammates beside her.
Led by the 1-2 punch of Douglas and Wieber, this will be the strongest team the Americans have had since 1996, one that will be not just favored but expected to bring home only the second Olympic team gold. McKayla Maroney and Aly Raisman, who were with Douglas and Wieber on the U.S. team that won the title at last fall’s world championships, also made the team, as did Kyla Ross.
Maroney is the world vault champion. Ross, not old enough to be on last year’s world team, is a two-time U.S. champion.
One gymnast who won’t be in London, at least not as a competitor, is Olympic champion Nastia Liukin.
Liukin announced her comeback last October, hoping to become the first reigning Olympic champion to return to the games since Nadia Comaneci in 1980. But desire and grit are no match for shoulder problems and a three-year layoff, and Liukin’s glittering career sputtered to an end. She fell on uneven bars, her signature event, when her fingertips could only brush the bar after a release move, and needed to take a step back after landing her dismount on the edge of the mat.
Phelps drops 200 free, won’t go for eight golds: Michael Phelps won’t be able to duplicate his performance of eight gold medals from the 2008 Beijing Olympics in London because he has dropped one of his eight races.
Phelps’ coach, Bob Bowman, announced Monday that Phelps was scratching the 200-meter freestyle, leaving him with seven events — the 100- and 200-meter butterfly, the 200- and 400-meter individual medley and three relays — at the London Games.
‘‘It makes sense,’’ Bowman said. ‘‘No one should be expected to do that twice. Once was more than enough.’’
Torres misses out on 6th Olympic team: Dara Torres has come up short in her bid to make it to the Olympics for a sixth time.
The 45-year-old Torres finished fourth in the final of the 50-meter freestyle Monday night, her only event at the U.S. swimming trials.