Gabby Douglas May Get to Defend All-Around Title at Rio Olympics Despite Finishing In Seventh At The Trials

Gabrielle Douglas
Gabrielle Douglas competes on the floor exercise during day 1 of the 2016 U.S. Women's Gymnastics Olympic Trials at SAP Center on July 8, 2016 in San Jose, California.  Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Gabby Douglas may get the chance to defend her all-around gold medal from the London Olympics next month in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Douglas was officially named to the five person U.S. women’s gymnastics team earlier this month in San Jose, California, despite finishing in seventh place overall. At the Olympic trials, the 20-year-old fell off the beam both nights, leaving many to wonder how she was able to even make the team.

But national team coordinator Martha Karolyi has faith in the 20-year-old.

In an interview on Monday July 25, Karolyi gave fans hope that the Douglas Family Gold star may do more than just bars, and that the gymnast may join Simone Biles (who is considered a lock for one of the three U.S. spots in the qualifying event) in the individual all-around competition.

“Gabby’s preparation is in a very, very good direction, and I foresee that she can be in the all-around, but we’re not taking this decision as of now yet,” Karolyi told reporters. “We have a tentative lineup, but that’s absolutely tentative and we would not reveal that lineup at the moment yet, because most likely there will be changes as time goes.”

In November, the Gabbymoji creator told Us Weekly how meaningful defending her title would be.

“It would be a dream come true because I really love a challenge and I’m taking it!” she explained. “There are more things I want to accomplish in gymnastics, and to go back and defend my title and be on top again would just be amazing.”

But those who still harbor some doubts about Douglas after her falls at the Olympic Trials should breathe easier.

Nastia Liukin, who nabbed gold in the individual all-around in 2008 and now comments on the sport for NBC, explained the choice to have the “Flying Squirrel” on the team.

(From left) Lauren Hernandez, Madison Kocian, Gabrielle Douglas, and Simone Biles
(From left) Lauren Hernandez, Madison Kocian, Gabrielle Douglas, and Simone Biles celebrate after they were selected for the Olympic Team following Day 2 of the 2016 U.S. Women's Gymnastics Olympic Trials at SAP Center on July 10, 2016 in San Jose, California. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

“I think people just need to trust [Martha Karolyi] and trust her decision. I think everything will work out just fine,” she told Us Weekly at a pre-ESPYs event on July 13. “I think also people don’t understand the amount of pressure [Douglas] feels as the reigning Olympic all-around champion. She’s physically prepared. So yeah, mistakes happen but she’s also, like, amazing on bars and you can really rely on her and count on her, and she’s going to be great for the team.”

Karolyi will choose three women for the all-around final, and the top two women will advance to the finals in that event. Aly Raisman, who competed in the event in 2012 (and came in fourth) and Laurie Hernandez, who at 16 is the youngest member of the team, are also in contention for the three spots. Both gymnasts scored higher overall than Douglas at the P&G Championships in June and at the Olympic Trials earlier this month.

The Rio Olympics begin August 5 and will be streamed live on NBCOlympics.com and on the NBC Sports app. The Rio Paralympics begin September 7 and will be streamed live on TeamUSA.org

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