If there was a "weak" event, it was balance beam. Though Wieber whips off her tricks with so much confidence she may as well be doing them in an open field, rather than a 4-inch wide slab 4 feet off the ground, there were still too many wobbles and bobbles for Karolyi's liking.
And with Douglas closing fast, every one of those tenths counts.
"Obviously we need to be a little sharper," Geddert said. "There's a new sheriff in town."
Though Douglas was thrilled with her new silver necklace, she was all too aware she could have had a shinier prize if not for botching her beam routine.
She landed off-center on a back handspring, and wobbled and swayed as if being blown by a stiff breeze. She waved her arms and even put a hand on the beam to try and stay upright, but finally had to jump off, prompting a loud groan from the crowd. Her score of 14.1 was her lowest of the two days, by far, and dropped her almost a point behind Wieber.
"Dang it! What was I thinking?" Douglas said afterward, pounding her fists on her thighs. "It wasn't nerves. I have got to pay more attention on that first skill. I have to focus on every single skill."
But the mistake seemed to take all the pressure off Douglas, and she finished with one world-class routine after another.
"All eyes are on me," she said. "I'm going to do this thing and I'm going to do it up."
Douglas has the personality, poise and megawatt smile to captivate not just one country this summer, but two, and there's nothing she likes better than putting on a show. Hearing the crowd clapping along to her techno music only fired her up more for her floor routine, and she looked like a SuperBall as she tumbled, getting such massive height the folks in the first few rows had to look up to see her.
But it's uneven bars where she really sparkles. Karolyi has dubbed her the "Flying Squirrel" for the lightness and ease with which she flits between the bars, and she had even more pizazz than usual Sunday. When she threw herself up and back across the bar, her legs in a piked position, her form was so perfect she could have touched her nose to her knees. And LeBron and the boys in Miami would kill for her hang time, as she seemed to be suspended in the air forever before coming back down to catch the bar.
"I try to make it so high to impress you guys," she said with a giggle. "I hear people (gasp) and I'm like, 'Calm down, I'm going to catch the bar.'"
She beamed as she landed a near-perfect dismount, and even Karolyi applauded. Her score of 15.85 was the highest of the meet on an event besides vault. But it wasn't quite enough to catch Wieber.
Not this time, anyway.
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