Gabby Douglas became a sensation at the Olympic Games in 2012 when she became one of the Fierce Five on the American team that took the gold. She was the first African-American woman in Olympic history to become the individual all-around champion, and also the first American gymnast to win gold in both the individual all-around and team competitions at the same Olympics. So why will she not be advancing to the all-around finals this year in Rio?
The international gymnastics federation put a “two-per-country” rule into effect to encourage diversity in the finals, meaning that even if one country's team was destroying all other competitors, only two from that team would be allowed to move on. You can see how it might make a less interesting competition if America was competing against America….who was also competing against America. But it also means that outstanding competitors like Douglas get shut out.
On Sunday, U.S. gymnasts Simone Biles and Aly Raisman landed the higher scores, with a 62.366 and a 60.607, respectively. Douglas came in an extremely close third to Rasiman with a 60.131. No other country even broke a 59.
The rule has supporters and detractors, but one thing is for sure: Gabby Douglas is an amazing gymnast and the world will miss seeing her compete.