Gabrielle Douglas, the reigning all-around Gold Medalist in the London Olympics in 2012, failed to defend her championship when she finished third in the competition.
Douglas, 20, put on a what observers and pundits characterized as a fabulous performance, earning a score of 60.131, the third best score of all countries competing, but still won’t get into the Aug. 11 finals in Rio.
Why? Douglas was barely beaten out by her own teammate Aly Raisman, who took second place. And since Simone Biles finished first — and only two athletes from each country are allowed in the finals — Douglas was automatically eliminated from the Finals.
To compound her pain, Douglas’ score was just less than half a point off from Aly’s score of 60.607. She and Raisman were also neck-and-neck in the qualifiers for the 2012 London Games when Douglas took home the gold.
Fans are irate because Douglas was seen as putting on a mistake-free performance, whereas teammate Raisman was seen almost falling during her exercise. Therefore, many fans believe Douglas should have been in the finals with superstar Biles, not Raisman. But as one pundit put it, Douglas’ difficulty was not as high as her two teammates, which may explain why Raisman barely beat out Douglas.
To her credit, Douglas was very gracious and smiled during the post-exercise interview, saying that she was just happy to be able to get to Rio and compete and defend her title. This did little, however, to assuage the emotions of her large fan base back home in America.
Douglas backers unloaded on social media. Here is a sampling of their rage on Douglas’ elimination.