Gabby Douglas has had a pretty great year: She won two gold medals including the all-around, was named Sportswoman of the Year and AP Athlete of the Year, wrote a book, met the President, appeared on a Wheaties Box, Vampire Diaries, and Oprah, threw out first pitches in New York and LA, and even led the Pledge at the Democratic National Convention. But now it’s back to work.
Gabby returned to her West Des Moines, Iowa gym Monday to discuss her return to the sport with coach Liang Chow and hop on the mat for her first practice since the London Games last summer.
“She is very excited to be coming back,” Chow told the AP. “She can’t wait any longer. She’s the kind of person who wants to be achieving.
“She wants to feel good about her improvement and her goal setting. That’s the attitude Gabby is about and now she can set out a goal and achieve it, through the sport.”
But the road back to competition form isn’t easy, even for a gold medalist. Gabby has been out of practice for about nine months, Chow said Gabby needs to get back in shape before they can discuss a realistic training plan and start building on her skills, adding new moves and creating new routines.
“I think 2014 is an excellent possibility for competition.”
And then maybe they’ll start thinking about Rio.
SCHEDULE UPDATE: Vonn will will return for the final women’s downhill training run on Monday at 9 p.m. ET. LIVE STREAM
Look closely at Lindsey Vonn.
When NBC cameras zoom in on the two-time Olympic medalist, viewers will notice that she wrote a couple of messages on her uniform in permanent marker.
On the thumb of her right glove, Vonn has the word “believe” in Greek. It mirrors a tattoo she has on the inside of a finger.
“Signifying my last Olympics [in 2018] and just need to believe in myself,” Vonn said to NBC’s Nick Zaccardi.
On her helmet, Vonn has the initials “D.K.” and a heart. It is meant to honor her late grandfather, Don Kildow.
Kildow, who served in the Korean War from 1952-54, died on Nov. 1. Watch to learn more about Vonn’s special relationship with her grandparents:
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — At the bottom of the Olympic aerials landing hill, where crashes are common and the term “slap back” is part of the everyday lingo, skiers spend almost as much time figuring out how to protect their heads as they do working on all those flips and spins.
“We learn how to fall,” U.S. jumper Jon Lillis said.
Elsewhere around the action-sports venue, that’s not so much the case.
Concussion dangers lurk everywhere — from the iced-over deck of the halfpipe, to the steeply pitched landings on the slopestyle course, to the careening twists and turns of the snowboard cross track, to the aerials course, where “slap back” is the term for when a skier’s head slaps backward against the snow. But at the Olympics, there are no hard-and-fast rules regarding who diagnoses head injuries, and no hard-and-fast protocol that athletes must clear to be allowed back on the slopes after a concussion.
“A bit concerning,” says neurologist Kevin Weber of the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. “Because you worry that athletes in other sports that may not be as popular as football are getting, I wouldn’t say ignored, but the concussions they’re getting are under-scrutinized.”
Read the full story at NBCOlympics.com