Gabby Douglas
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Gabby Douglas, mom had concerns before agreeing to TV series

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Gabby Douglas — and her mom — were not initially OK with cameras following them for a TV series.

“Douglas Family Gold” premieres on Oxygen on Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET (the entire first episode of the reported six-week series is also viewable now here).

The series was the idea of Douglas’ older sister, Arielle, but it took several approaches by major companies before the family agreed to take part.

“For the most part, I was a little bit hesitant on doing this show because I was like, woah, woah, woah, the main goal is Rio,” the 2012 Olympic all-around champion said last month while promoting one of her sponsors, P&G, in New York. “I can’t get distracted and have the cameras like, coming all up to the gym. So I was a little hesitant, and I was talking to my mom, and we came to an agreement that the cameras weren’t going to be in there as much. And they were very respectful. They weren’t in there as much. I was like, all right, fine, let’s do it. It’s been a fun process and a fun journey.”

Douglas’ mother, Natalie Hawkins, said that after multiple overtures from “really big production companies,” a friend of a friend from Wilmer Valderrama Enterprises came along.

Hawkins asked that friend to outline a vision for a show.

“When she told me, it was exactly what I had envisioned if I had a show,” Hawkins said. “So I said, done, how do we get the ball rolling? And we just were off and running from there.

“We basically wrote down on paper the type of show we wanted to make.”

And that is?

“What it takes behind the scenes,” Hawkins said. “What it takes to stay focused. What it takes to be inspired. What the stakes are. Really, a lot of people don’t know, we actually haven’t shared a lot of our story. But at least this part that we can share about this road is some of what goes on behind the scenes to support an elite athlete, and, for me as a mom, to support my other children at the same time.”

The show’s premiere begins with the lead-up to the August 2015 P&G Championships, with Douglas training in Columbus, Ohio. Hawkins is based in California, managing Douglas’ business ventures, and said she and Douglas see each other about once a month, plus at meets.

Douglas trained in Iowa, California, Iowa again and now Columbus since the London Olympics.

She has been in Columbus since summer 2014 and said last month she hasn’t thought about whether she will compete after the Rio Olympics, should she make the team announced in July.

“When we first started out [returning to training in May 2013], she was in Iowa, and then unfortunately, she had to leave, but the goal was never to be in Columbus, but now that we’re there, it probably was the best thing that happened on the journey,” Hawkins said. “At least one of the best.”

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Tommy Ford ends U.S. men’s World Cup drought at Beaver Creek

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Tommy Ford earned his first World Cup win at age 30 and ended the U.S. men’s longest victory and podium droughts in two decades.

Ford won the giant slalom in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Sunday, the last North American race on tour this season. He prevailed by eight tenths of a second combining times over two runs.

“It doesn’t beat doing it here. I’ve been working hard,” Ford, in his 86th World Cup start dating to 2009, said on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA. “No secret, just kept it simple and really trusted what I was doing.”

Norwegians Henrik Kristoffersen and Leif Kristian Nestvold-Haugen were second and third. American Ted Ligety, fourth after the opening run, finished 11th.

Full results are here.

Ford became the first U.S. man to win a World Cup since Travis Ganong took a downhill on Jan. 27, 2017. He also became the first U.S. male podium finisher since Ligety in January 2018. Both were the longest droughts for the program since the late 1990s.

Ford, a 2010 and 2018 Olympian who missed the 2014 Olympics due to a broken femur, had been working toward this moment.

He finished a World Cup career-high fourth at the season-opening giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, on Oct. 27. Last season, the Oregon native and former Dartmouth student had a pair of fifths.

The men’s World Cup moves to Val d’Isere, France, next weekend for a giant slalom and slalom.

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Katie Ledecky wins race by 30 seconds, takes back No. 1 ranking

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In her last race of the year, Katie Ledecky ensured she would finish 2019 as the world’s fastest 1500m freestyler.

Ledecky clocked 15:35.98 at the U.S. Open in Atlanta, winning the longest event on the Olympic pool program by 29.97 seconds. Typical for Ledecky, who owns the nine fastest times in history. This one came in at No. 8. Full meet results are here.

Ledecky scratched the 1500m free final at the summer world championships due to illness. Italian Simona Quadarella went on to win that title in 15:40.89, which was the world’s fastest time this year until Saturday night.

“I didn’t have time on my mind at all today. I just wanted to have a consistent swim,” Ledecky, undefeated in 1500m free finals for nine years, said on NBCSN. “That’s probably the best mile that I’ve had in a while.”

The women’s 1500m freestyle debuts at the Olympics in Tokyo. Ledecky is expected to add that to her Rio Olympic individual lineup of 200m, 400m and 800m frees, assuming she is top two in each event at the June Olympic trials.

In other events Saturday, Erika Brown handed Simone Manuel a rare defeat in the 100m freestyle. Brown, a University of Tennessee senior, clocked 53.42 and lowered her personal best by .71 between prelims and the final. Brown moved from sixth to fourth in the U.S. rankings this year, upping her stock as a contender to make the Olympic 4x100m free relay pool via a top-six finish at trials.

Brown previously lowered her personal best in the 50m free on Thursday. She ranks third in the U.S. this year in that event.

Emily Escobedo dealt Lilly King a rare domestic defeat in the 200m breaststroke. Escobedo lowered her personal best by .87 and clocked 2:22.00, moving to seventh fastest in the world this year and remaining fourth among Americans.

In the men’s 200m breast, Olympic champion Dmitriy Balandin of Kazakhstan was beaten by Cody Miller, the Olympic 100m breast silver medalist. Both were slower than their best times this year.

The next significant swim meet is a Tyr Pro Series stop in Knoxville, Tenn., from Jan. 16-19.

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