Douglas says ready to improve ahead of Rio

Mon Jul 11, 2016 1:30am EDT
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By Liana B. Baker

SAN JOSE, California (Reuters) - Gabby Douglas will have about a month to rebuild her shaken confidence ahead of the Rio Summer Games after she was gifted a spot on the U.S. team following a disappointing display at the U.S. team trials.

With five women landing berths on the Rio bound squad Douglas was fortunate to be among them after an uninspiring seventh place finish at the two-day U.S. trials that ended Sunday.

Despite her struggles women's national team program director Martha Karolyi remained convinced Douglas could still be a key contributor to the U.S. effort.

"I'm excited to talk to her (Karolyi) and pour my heart out," offered an emotional Douglas. "I just want to say, thank you for believing in me even though I didn't do as well as I could have and there is so much more that I can do.

"Thank you for not giving up on me and I'm just going to really prove to her and everyone that I deserve to be on this team."

Douglas, who fell off the beam on both days of the trials, finished seventh overall scoring behind some team mates who were only chosen as alternates, including Ragan Smith (fifth) and MyKayla Skinner (fourth).

Douglas had initially been considered to have the inside track on a Rio berth and a chance to defend her all-around title.

While Douglas is on her way to Rio, there is no decision yet on whether she will be selected to compete in the all-around but if chosen, the 20-year-old said she would be ready.   Continued...

Jul 10, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; Gabby Douglas waits to compete in the floor exercise during the women's gymnastics U.S. Olympic team trials at SAP Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports