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Gabby Douglas looks to medal in final event today
Gabby Douglas looks to medal in final event today

© August 7, 2012

From wire reports


Gabby Douglas is back for her grand finale.

Already a two-time gold medalist, the American teen nicknamed the Flying Squirrel has a chance for one more title before she leaves the London Games, competing today on the balance beam.

Even Douglas wouldn't have expected to make the final a month ago, considering she had been so shaky in training. A fall off the beam on the second day of the U.S. championships in June cost her the national title.

But lately Douglas has the highest scores of anybody on the talented U.S. roster. She is determined to finish strong after placing eighth - and last - in the uneven bars final Monday with a score of 14.9.

"Beam has been excellent. If I can just do what I did in the all-around finals or team finals, then I'll be good," said Douglas, who won gold in the all-around and team competitions last week. "I'm going to get a lot of rest, just rest up, and do a lot of therapies and relax my body and hopefully prepare for that."

The 16-year-old Douglas is admittedly tired at this stage of the Summer Games. She has endured a whirlwind of public appearances and media obligations after her all-around victory - and she hoped to escape the spotlight for a night and take advantage of much-needed downtime in the athletes village.

"It hasn't really been hard because we're in the village, so we're kind of caged in," she said. "We can't, like, leave and the media can't come in, so we're definitely on lockdown. I think toward the end of the Olympics you get mentally and physically tired and you're just, like, drained."

With all the attention, Douglas is working carefully to discover how best to deal with her newfound fame.

"It's pretty exciting, but we have to learn to plug it in and unplug it," she said. "I've been getting a lot of rest, but sometimes you can't sleep because you're either tossing and turning or it's too hot in the rooms or stuff like that."

She also faced questions about her mother's reported bankruptcy filing.

"It was hard for us growing up - my dad had left us, so he wasn't really in the picture any more," she told the New York Post. "So, my mom had to front all these bills. My dad didn't really pay the child support. He was short (on money). It was definitely hard on my mom, taking care of me and my siblings."

Douglas started Monday's uneven bars competition at a considerable disadvantage, given that her routine had one of the lower difficulty scores among the finalists. And when she skipped a skill in trying to smooth over a mistake, her difficulty score was dropped to 6.300, lowest in the field.

China's He Kexin, who took silver, by contrast, earned 7.100 points for her routine's complexity. Russia's Aliya Mustafina scored 16.133 points to claim gold.

Even if Douglas had executed her routine to perfection, she likely would have finished no higher than fourth overall. But she fell short of that, her most glaring mistake an off-kilter handstand.

"Coming into the bar final is definitely a big challenge for me," Douglas said. "I made a little mistake, but I'm human."

Nonetheless, Douglas walks into O2 Arena to rousing, raucous cheers from a flag-waving crowd.

Shes hopes to set off one more festive party today.

"I want to finish strong, and I'm going to do as best as I can," Douglas said. "Fresh day. Leave on a good note."

The Associated Press and Washington Post contributed to this report.

For original article, click here.

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