Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas weren’t seeking a told-you-so moment. The gold medals around their necks are satisfying enough, thank you.
But the gymnasts did hear the questions early in their comebacks, skepticism of trying for a second Olympics at their age.
Never mind that both are relatively young — Raisman is 22 and Douglas is 20. In gymnastics, and particularly in U.S. gymnastics, one Olympics is usually all the women get.
But the pair got not only a second Games but a second trip to the podium, becoming the first American gymnasts to be part of two gold-medal winning teams.
“For me, I was just trying to show that it was possible, but not necessarily prove anybody wrong. I just wanted to go out there and really have fun,” said Douglas.
Added Raisman, “You kind of get so wrapped up in trying to reach for the team gold medals if you haven’t already won one before. So when it actually happens, it’s crazy to look and think that you have two of them.”
Douglas and Raisman won gold as part of the Fierce Five in London, where Douglas claimed the all-around title and Raisman lost a tiebreaker for third. Each took more than a year off before returning.
Though the process was difficult and each hit low points along the way — last year at world championships for Raisman and this year at nationals for Douglas — they made a small measure of history in just making the team.
The pair were the first gymnasts to make consecutive teams since Amy Chow and Dominique Dawes in 2000.
“I never wanted to retire after London,” said Douglas, who was 16 when she won all-around gold. “I was so young and so fresh and I still have a passion for gymnastics, so at the end of the day I still wanted to do what I love.”
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SOURCE: USA Today, Rachel Axon