Gabrielle Douglas, the 16 year-old Olympic hopeful and gymnastics gold medalist, will go up against the vault at this weekend's Visa Championships in St. Louis, Missouri. The top 15 men and women from this event will move to the Olympic Trials, which will be held in June. Once there, Douglas will face other top athletes for a spot on the U.S. Gymnastics team.
After spraining her ankle at the Pacific Rim Championships in March, Douglas has had some trouble with the vault. Last month, she opted out of the U.S. Classic in Chicago in order to let her injury heal. However, she'll have to ignore whatever pain remains in order to overcome what many would call an obstacle.
"I’m here to prove to you guys that I can do it, and I have my mental confidence up. I want to show you guys on Friday and Sunday what I’m capable of doing," Douglas told the Indy Star.
Gabby, who has been dubbed "The Flying Squirrel" by U.S. team coordinator Martha Karolyi, is extremely proficient at the uneven bars, which is typically where America falls short. Douglas, however, is anxious to leave her mark, and if her excitement and confidence are any indication of her performance this weekend, I doubt she'll have any trouble whatsoever.
"She has every reason to be confident in herself," her coach, Liang Chow, explained. "This is the year for the Olympics. We’ve got nothing to lose, but showing her strength, showing her gracefulness, showing her fans what she can deliver. I have faith in her. This is it. It’s show time."