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Winners Just Don't Happen

Written By: Bill Finnigan  |  Posted: Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

            Millions of eyes have been focused recently on Gabby Douglas, the first U.S. woman to win the gold in both the team competition and the all-round. The crowd at the gymnastic hall in London was enamored by both the smile and the performance of this young American athlete. During the final bars of the national anthem, her smile became even brighter, as she basked in the sunshine of her unique victory. Her near-flawless events brought anything but a smile to her Russian counterparts, whose confidence was crushed. In fact, the two determined Russians who shared the podium with Gabby were frustrated and distraught. Victoria Komova, who won the silver, wouldn't wear the metal in the media zone, claiming it was "too heavy."

            The Russians have dominated this sport for years, and are known for their high level of discipline and expertise. Even Bela Karolyi, the legendary coach, said that Douglas reminded him of other great athletes whom he has coached in his career; champions like Nadia Comaneci, the Romanian super-star, who won the same event in the '76 Games with a series of perfect 10s. He likened Nadia to Gabby, who is the first African American all-round champion; Gabby, he said, had Nadia's same fearless spirit, "just going out there with no second thoughts, and just performing."

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