The U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team dominated the competition during the qualifying round on Sunday, with Americans finishing on top in all categories – team all-around, beam, vault and uneven bars. However, Gabby Douglas will not be defending her Olympic all-around individual title despite her third place finish.
Even though Douglas lost to her teammate by less than half a point, she says happy with her solid performance.
“I’m not disappointed at all,” she told the Associated Press on Sunday. “I have no regrets.”
Douglas’ impressive performance silenced critics who questioned her spot on the team after a lackluster Olympic trials, where she fell off the balance beam both nights and placed seventh in the all-around.
National team director Martha Karolyi still selected her for the Rio Olympics, thanks in large part to her proven ability to deliver under pressure and her prowess on the uneven bars.
“I think Gabby just proved that she has a place on this team,” Karolyi said after Sunday’s performance. “I know our decision was very much questioned. But I’ve known Gabby for many years and I knew we could make the necessary improvements that she would be a great asset to the team.”
The 20-year-old gymnast insists that she wasn’t out to prove haters wrong. She simply wanted to perform the best she could.
“I just wanted to go out there and believe in my abilities and use the talent that I was given,” Douglas said. “I wasn’t concerned with anything else.”
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As expected, Douglas shined on the uneven bars, earning a score of 15.766 and a spot in the event final.
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Even if Douglas is content with not making the all-around competition, her teammates wish things were different.
“I hate the two per country rule … I wish that they would change it but I don’t think that they ever will,” Raisman said. “That’s the rules. You’ve got to respect their decision, but it is heartbreaking.”
Because the U.S. women’s team is so dominant this year, all five athletes could have earned a spot in the all-around finals if not for the rule.
Douglas will still have plenty to keep her busy in Rio. The U.S. is expected to take home the gold in the team competition, and she’ll also appear in the finals for the uneven bars.
“I would have loved to go out there and defend my title, but right now I’m just rejoicing and so far this has just been an amazing experience,” she said. “There’s nothing to be ashamed about.”
To learn more about all Olympic hopefuls, visit teamusa.org. The Rio Olympics is currently airing on NBC.