LONDON – Maybe there was too much fame. After the frenzy from the American team gold and the all-around gold and the interviews and advertisements and everything that suddenly made Gabby Douglas very, very popular, there were more Olympics.
For this, she was not ready.
"She is a young girl and she was given the limelight, and it was too much too quick," American coach Marta Karolyi said after Douglas slipped during her only event, the balance beam, on Tuesday.
Douglas's tumble came early in her routine, and it clinched a seventh-place finish, the day after she finished eighth in the uneven bars. Her foot rolled off the top of the beam, and she nearly fell to the floor. She managed to catch herself, hanging strangely beneath the beam for a moment, before crawling back up and finishing the routine.
"I'm human, we make mistakes," Douglas said after the beam, which was her last event in the Olympics.
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Already her life has changed and not all for the better. In addition to the adulation that has come with her gold medals, there have been news reports that her mother Natalie Hawkins filed for bankruptcy in Virginia earlier this year. This is something she probably wouldn't have had to discuss had she not become instantly famous.
"She has too much potential," Karolyi said. ‘She can do a great job in the next four years. We are human beings not machines. … Physically, she was prepared."
Mentally, she was not.
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