When Gabby Douglas landed her dismount from the uneven bars, no giddy celebrations or congratulatory group hugs ensued Monday. After so much gymnastics...
LONDON — When Gabby Douglas landed her dismount from the uneven bars, no giddy celebrations or congratulatory group hugs ensued Monday.
After so much gymnastics and so much success at these Olympics, she was simply too tuckered out to hit a perfect routine in the final event and too exhausted to flash much of her blinding smile.
“Toward the end of the Olympics, you get kind of physically tired and drained no matter how much rest you get,” said Douglas, who was outsparkled by her metallic silver leotard. “I’m kind of disappointed in myself, could have fought a little harder, could have pulled a little harder. But, I don’t know, you just get to that, you know, mentally you’re just so tired.”
Last week, Douglas, 16, helped her U.S. team win the gold medal. Two days later, she won a gold medal in the all-around.
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Aliya Mustafina of Russia won the gold medal after performing a routine that made her look like a butterfly flitting atop, below and between the bars. She scored 16.133 points.
China’s He Kexin, who failed to defend her Olympic title in the event, won silver (15.933). Beth Tweddle of Britain won bronze (15.916).
“I just can’t put it into words what it means to me,” said Tweddle, who received such loud cheers that the arena rumbled.
“Amazing talent,” Douglas said of the other gymnasts. “Just look at Beth Tweddle with her insane connections and Mustafina with her lines and preciseness. So coming into bar finals was definitely a big challenge for me. I made a little mistake, but, you know, I’m human.”
But Douglas is no longer just the girl next door. Within the past week, she has also become a celebrity, going from a little-known teenager to a star athlete in the United States in the time it takes to snap a finger.
After her uneven bars routine, she initially looked confused when asked about her family’s financial struggles, which recently were made public.
Earlier this year, her mother, Natalie Hawkins — a single mother with four children — filed for bankruptcy, allowing her to pay off her debts over time.
“It was really hard for us because my dad had left us, so he wasn’t really in the picture anymore, so my mom had to front all these bills,” Douglas said of the bankruptcy, initially reported by the website TMZ. “My dad didn’t really pay the child support; he was coming short. It was definitely hard.”
After that explanation, Douglas was whisked away from the arena. Her next stop: the athletes’ village for what is most likely going to be a long night before Tuesday’s balance beam final. She has one more chance to win a third Olympic medal.