Gymnastics: Despite flawless day, U.S.'s Douglas won't defend London gold

Sun Aug 7, 2016 10:23pm EDT
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By Joshua Schneyer

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - U.S. gymnast Gabby Douglas turned in a near flawless performance at Sunday's Olympic qualifying event, gaining the third highest score of any gymnast, but because of Olympic rules she will not be going to the all around final.

That means Douglas will not have the chance to defend the gold medal she won at the all around women's gymnastics event at the 2012 London Games.

Olympic rules limit to two the number of gymnasts from any one country who can advance to the all around final. In Sunday's qualifying event, Douglas' team mates Simone Biles and Alexandra Raisman turned in higher scores as the U.S. women dominated the competition.

"I would have loved to go out there and defend my title, but I'm not disappointed," Douglas told reporters. "It's been an amazing ride."

Since winning the all around gold in London, there have been doubts Douglas could regain her Olympic form. She took a two year break, wrote a biography, starred in a reality TV show, and switched coaches.

She dispelled those doubts on Sunday, turning in rock solid performances in all four gymnastics apparatuses: floor exercise, balance beam, uneven bars and vault.

Only Biles, the three-time all around world champion who is appearing at her first Olympics, and Raisman, a gold medal winner in the floor exercise at the London Games, scored higher.

In the all around final on Thursday, a total of 24 competitors will be scored in all four events.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Artistic Gymnastics - Preliminary - Women's Qualification - Subdivisions - Rio Olympic Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 07/08/2016. Gabrielle Douglas (USA) of USA (Gabby Douglas) competes on the beam during the women's qualifications. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj