HARTFORD, Conn. — Gabby Douglas is pretty much over basking in the afterglow of Olympic glory.
Sure, the trappings of becoming the first American gymnast to win team and Olympic all-around gold medals in the same games are nice. The talk shows. The commercial opportunities. There’s even talk of a movie on her life story in the works.
Watching the sport that has shaped her life move on without her, Gabby returned to coach Liang Chow’s gym in Iowa eager to get back to work. “It’s weird sitting on the sidelines,” Douglas said Aug. 16 shortly before she and the rest of her “Fierce Five” were inducted into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame. “I want to be able to get back there and compete and that I can compete so that I have the ability too.”
Gabby is tentatively pointing toward the 2014 US women’s gymnastics championships as the official return date. That plan can change as she tries to reboot her career. Make no mistake, however, she will compete again.
“I want to come back,” she said.
So does Jordyn Wieber and Aly Raisman. While teammates Kyla Ross and McKayla Maroney took short breaks before returning to training, Gabby, Jordyn and Aly did their best to enjoy the perks of becoming overnight sensations. Aly did a season of Dancing With the Stars, while Jordyn finished up high school and crisscrossed the country making all kinds of appearances.
Jordyn, the 2011 world all-round champion, is back working with coach John Geddert but is planning to enroll at UCLA in the fall. She will continue to train in Los Angeles but could return to training in Michigan. School, at the moment, is the higher priority.
“If I don’t get college started now, it might be three years from now to get started,” she said. “So maybe I’ll get it started now, in a year maybe come back and train. I’m not really sure what our plans are.”
Neither is Aly, who came home from London with three medals. At this point, she and coach Mihai Brestyan have talked in only general terms. Aly says only that she’ll get in training “soon” and that her biggest concern at the moment is conditioning and pacing herself. Putting together skills and routines will come much later.
Kyla is the youngest member of the “Fierce Five” and the only one who remained an amateur after the games. Looking back, the decision wasn’t a terribly difficult one.
While she would have seen a boost to her bank account if she surrendered her amateur status, it likely wouldn’t have been enough to cover the cost of college. The math didn’t add up for her or her parents, particularly when the California native’s list of potential schools includes Stanford.
A year after standing atop the podium in London, Kayla is confident she made the right call. So are her parents, who don’t have to shuttle the 16-year-old around just to collect a paycheck.