All Articles Tagged "Summer Olympics 2012"
Both Gabrielle Douglas and John Orozco are in London proving that gymnastics is anybody’s sport. The young African American girl from Virginia Beach and the young Afro-Puerto Rican boy from the Bronx are making headlines this season for their stellar performances in the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Gabby Douglas is being called the gymnast to beat after winning the automatic bid at the US Olympics Trials and then winning a spot in Tuesday’s all-around qualifiers. Bleacher Report says she is one of the best gymnasts in the world on the uneven bars and she matched the qualifying-best score of 15.900 on the vault.
Monday night, the 16-year-old will join her teammates that complete the “Fab Five”: 17-year-old Jordyn Wieber, 18-year-old Alexandra Raisman, 16-year-old McKayla Maroney, and 15-year-old Kyla Ross. The team is competing (and favored) to win the first team Olympic gold since the “Magnificent Seven” won in 1996.
A black belt, YouTube singer, and amateur skier, 19-year-old John Orozco is also an Olympic gymnast. He won the 2012 Visa National Championships before earning the second spot on Team USA. On Saturday, he finished fourth out of 30 in the all-around men’s qualification.
After an impressive performance, his team won No.1 in qualifying and are hoping for their first Olympic title since 1984. On Wednesday, he will compete for an individual gold medal.
Good luck to the Flying Squirrel (Gabby) and Silent Ninja (John)!
Follow Alissa on Twitter @AlissaInPink
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A black girl hasn’t won an individual medal in gymnastics at the Olympics, since Dominique Dawes’ won a bronze-medal in 1996. However, 16-year-old Gabrielle “Gabby” Douglas is aiming to make history in the 2012 games.
The 5 foot, 94-pound gymnast nicknamed “Flying Squirrel” is originally from Virginia Beach, but moved to Iowa when she was just 14 to train with Liang Chow, the coach of 2008 gold medalist Shawn Johnson. She was a member of the U.S. team that won the gold medal in the team finals at the 2011 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Tokyo, Japan. Now, she is looking to compete in the Olympics for the US Team.
The Washington Post reports:
Douglas, who prefers to be called “Gabby,” won the gold medal on the uneven bars and got edged by just two-tenths of a point for the all-around gold by defending champion Jordyn Wieber at the USA gymnastics national championships in May.
Next comes the 2012 U.S. Olympic trials, Thursday through Sunday in San Jose, where 15 women and 15 men will vie for just five spots each on the London-bound teams. Wieber and Douglas appear certain picks.
Douglas’s forte is the uneven bars, a traditional weakness of the U.S. women, flying around the bars and delighting in difficult release moves. She’s equally lithe and athletic on the balance beam. And after falling at nationals, which cost her the all-around title, she showed formidable resolve in hopping back on and completing her routine with no trace of nerves.
Pressure, Douglas explains, has never made her “chicken out.” It only drives her to be better.
“Kind of like Superman!’” she says with a laugh.
Black female athletes are strongly represented in the Summer Olympics, but mostly in track & field, so it will be awesome to see some representation in gymnastics at the Olympics this year. Dominique Dawes was 15 when she went to the Olympics for the first time. She and Betty Okino, another African-American gymnast, both became the first African-American females to win an Olympic gymnastics medal that year in 1992. Here’s hoping Gabby Douglas makes the Olympic team this year and brings home a gold.
What’s your favorite Summer Olympics sport? Do you watch gymnastics?
Alissa Henry is a freelance writer living in Columbus, OH. Follow her on Twitter @AlissaInPink
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