LONDON – Gabby Douglas, a 4-11 bundle of dazzling strength and agility, captured the Olympic women's gymnastics individual all-around title in North Greenwich Arena here Thursday night, with a performance that belied her 16 years.
Douglas, of Virginia Beach, had a total of 62.232 – just .057 points ahead of her chief rival, Russian Victoria Komova. Douglas led from the first event – the vault – to the last – floor exercise, and never once faltered in the biggest competitive stage on earth.
She never gave Komova, a 17-year-old who was the runnerup in all-around to American Jordyn Wieber in the world champions last year, a chance to overtake her, though Komova delivered a superb floor-exercise routine as the final performer in the competition. Komova's total was 61.973.
Her countrywoman, Alyia Mustafina took bronze, just ahead of American Aly Raisman. The two finished tied for third place, but Mustafina earned the medal on a tiebreaker (execution scores).
Wieber, of course, was widely predicted to defend her world title here – and to battle Douglas and Komova in doing it. But she faltered enough in the qualification round to finish fourth – and since each country can only send two athletes, it closed her out of the individual all-around final.
As Douglas waved to the crowd and got too many hugs to count, the crowd broke into the obligatory "USA" chant. Not far away, Komova sat slumped in a chair, sobbing, as Mustafina tried to comfort her.