Gabby Douglas: USA
Gabby Douglas, aka The Flying Squirrel was known in 2011 as a headcase with great bars. (The headcase reputation primarily stems from the 2011 US National Championships, where she fell off the beam 3 times in one routine. ) That all began to change after the 2012 American Cup, where she performed as an alternate. Although her scores did not count, she posted a higher score than anyone else in the competition, making her the “unofficial winner.” She still struggled with consistency, and a fall off the beam at the 2012 National Championships cost her the title. However, she was able to go 4 for 4 (albeit with wobbles on beam) and beat Jordyn Weiber (the reigning World Champion) at the Olympic Trials, earning the 1 guaranteed spot on the team.
Gabby Douglas will probably qualify for the Uneven Bars final, but she doesn’t have enough difficulty to win, barring a splat fest. However, if she hits in the AA, she could challenge for gold. Her biggest competition (in addition to everyone else) will be herself, as she struggles not to cave under the pressure. I’m not really pulling for her to win the AA ( I don’t have a favorite) but I hope she goes 4 for 4 with a great beam set. That would be an even greater achievement for her than a gold medal would be.
Here’s The Flying Squirrel performing at the 2012 Olympic Trials.