Reigning Olympic individual all-around champion Gabby Douglas‘ placed fourth at the U.S. championships this weekend – but that isn’t deterring her from chasing a history-making attempt to win gold again at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“Obviously I didn’t do my best, but I think finishing fourth is definitely going to motivate me,” a disappointed-looking Douglas told reporters after her Sunday finish.
Martha Karolyi, national team coordinator for the women’s gymnastics team, says she is unfazed by Douglas’ less than ideal performance.
“Gaby, she has place for improvement, but I think she knows. I think it was good for her to see that we need to up it a tiny bit. She is the gymnast how in a fairly short time can gain much better consistency, so I trust that she will be in a better place in the trials,” Karolyi told USA Today Sports.
And Douglas couldn’t agree more.
“I gave a lot away, and I had a few mistakes,” the athlete said. “Overall, I’m just going to move forward heading into Olympic trials and really focus on being consistent and strong, and really work hard in the gym.”
Douglas totaled 117.800 points at the national championships, which was 2.7 points behind Hernandez. While a mistake on the uneven bars (generally her best event) dampened her spirits, a beautiful 15.050 beam routine was a competition highlight.
“In my bar routine, I ended up really crooked and then I fell over the other way,” she explains. “I was like, ‘Oh! I never really do that. Snap!’ But it’s fine. It’s good.”
Douglas says her performance is reminiscent of the 2012 U.S. championships when she fell off the beam – but made a comeback and excelled in other events. She would go on to dominate the 2012 Olympic trials and, at the London Games, win the individual all-around gold-medal.
“It was kind of like d j vu,” she said.
As she steps up her training in preparation for next week’s trials, Douglas says she is “feeling pretty confident.”
She adds, “I need to relax, stay calm and take deep breaths.”
To learn more about all Olympic hopefuls, visit teamusa.org. The Rio Olympics begin August 5.