West Des Moines-trained gymnast Gabby Douglas failed to medal on the uneven parallel bars in London 2012 Olympics with a 14.900 score that left her in eighth place.
Aliya Mustafina of Russia won with a 16.1. Kexin He of China was second and Great Britian's Elizabeth Tweddle won bronze, according to USAToday.
The competition was suspenseful to the end, as Douglas was last in the rotation. The uneven parallel bars are Douglas’s speciality, the apparatus that earned America’s new women’s gymnastics sweetheart the “Flying Squirrel” moniker from national team coordinator Martha Karolyi.
Des Moines Register sports writer Mark Emmert Tweeted that Monday Douglas had “one noticeable lean out of alignment, slight step on dismount. She is not showing her usual smile.”
Douglas, who moved to West Des Moines two years ago to train at Chow’s Gymnastics and Dance Institute, has one more chance at gold on the balance beam Tuesday.
On Sunday she sat with her teammates in the stands as they cheered on McKayla Maroney, who everyone expected to win gold in the vault. But, Maroney had an uncharacteristic error, sitting down on her second vault, which earned her a silver medal.
Douglas was the first African-American in history to win the all-around gold medal – something only three other American gymnasts have achieved. She was also the first African-American gymnast to medal since 1996, when Dominique Dawes won a bronze in the floor exercise.
Nick Zaccardi, writing for Inside Gymnastics in Sports Illustrated says Douglas’s fiercest competition will come from defending champion He Kexin of China. Zaccardi picks Great Britain’s Beth Twaddle to win the silver and Russia’s Viktoria Komova to win the bronze.
In the qualifying rounds last weekend, Douglas finished sixth on the bars with 15.333.
One More Shot at Gold
Douglas will compete for a final time Tuesday on the balance beam at 8:47 a.m. Iowa time (2:47 p.m. London time).
She’s earned a reputation throughout the Olympics for mental toughness on the beam, a nemesis in competitions earlier this year. She fell off twice, but made a remarkable turnaround after intense training from coach Liewen Zhuang, whose coaching helped Shawn Johnson win a gold medal on the balance beam four years ago, the Associated Press reported.
Douglas finished sixth in the qualifying rounds, but turned in the best balance beam score of all gymnasts in her gold-medal-winning performance in the women’s all-around finals.
Douglas’s routine is difficult, with a standing full backflip and a full twist, and if she can land squarely on her feet as she did last week in the all-around finals, the gold is within her grasp, according to Inside Magazine publisher Chris Korotky.
“You saw her confidence and poise,” he said. “If she comes back and does that again in the individual finals, she’ll have an excellent chance.”
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