everybody do the Dougie


Last year–and maybe even at Classics and Nationals this year–when Gabby Douglas was falling all over the place, especially on beam, who on earth would have thought that Gabby–our Gabby!–would win the Olympics?

Not me, that’s for damn sure.

So what happened today?

we started with five. Larissa Iodarche was never a huge contender after her showing in podium training and the team competitions. So Larissa was out.

And then there were four.

Vault started out with a bang, with Gabby doing a terrific Amanar. Her biggest mistake came on the landing when she very nearly stepped out–but she didn’t quite, and had to bend her body severely. But she kept her foot in. Aly Raisman, meanwhile, did a nice Amanar with a large hop. Vika Komova did a beautiful in the air Amanar but failed to fight for the landing, stepping off the mat. This is basically where Vika lost the meet.

On bars, Aly hit a bar routine for the first time in AA in major international meet. Aly has always been able to hit for the team, but this is the first time I’ve seen her be able to hit bars for herself. Both Aliya and Vika did just beautiful bar routines. I cannot tell you how beautiful they were. The trouble, of course, was that Gabby’s was just about as good. HUGE releases, beautiful form. Her usual self.

Beam was the make it or break it event…kind of.

For Aly and Aliya it made a huge difference. Aliya came off on her arabian but was otherwise very solid. Aly–for basically the first time I’ve ever seen–wobbled like crazy, including putting her hand down at one point. It was totally uncharacteristic of her. Aly basically never lets beam get to her. But today she did.

Meanwhile, both Vika and Gabby–who used to be known as headcases on beam!–both hit fantastic routines. Oh maybe 1 or 2 bobbles here or there, but overall, these two were just fantastic on the event. Clean, crisp, confident.

So it came down to floor.

Aliya hit extremely well. So did Aly, although she took out her punch fronts.

Gabby went up. And Gabby hit. Every landing was not perfect, but her routine overall was terrific. She came off the floor not sure if it would be enough.

Especially not once Vika went up. Vika has long been known as an inconsistent floor worker, but she went out during this meet and hit the best floor routine I’ve seen her do, and one of the best floor routines I’ve ever seen anyone do. It was amazing. Beautiful, great landings that she actually fought for–just incredible.

But it was not enough. Even though Vika and Aliya stood praying, it was not enough.

Here’s what it comes down to. Well, first lets address the bronze. Aliya and Aly tied exactly, but because the IOC sucks, no ties are allowed, and the tiebreaker went to Aliya. This is probably fair as it was based on execution, and Aliya’s is better, no question. Aliya did fall, but Aly was very very wobbly, and although part of me wishes Aly had won, she has done better at these Games than anyone expected . More on that tomorrow!

But here’s what happened with Gabby. It was quite simple, really, simpler than I think some folks on the gymternet are making it out to be.

Vika Komova made one major mistake when she did not fight for her landing on her vault.

Gabby Douglas made no major mistakes.

Gymnastics is an unforgiving sport. It just is. And tonight, Gabby was more perfect than Vika, and that’s what the medals reflect.


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