Liang Chow, who coached Gabby Douglas and Shawn Johnson to Olympic gymnastics gold, was named Chinese women’s national team head coach Thursday, according to Xinhua News Agency.
Messages left at Chow’s Gym seeking confirmation were not immediately returned.
“It will be a long road to go for the Chinese ladies,” Chow said, according to Xinhua. “For now, I need to focus on every single day to improve their strength. Step by step.”
Chow, a former Chinese national team member, came to the U.S. in 1991 and later opened a gym in West Des Moines, Iowa.
Chow’s first superstar pupil was Johnson, who won the 2007 World all-around title and four 2008 Olympic medals, including balance beam gold and all-around silver in Beijing.
Chow’s next Olympian, Douglas, won the all-around title in London in 2012 and, under different coaches, another team gold at Rio 2016. He later coached elite gymnasts Norah Flatley, Rachel Gowey and Victoria Nguyen.
The Chinese women earned gold in Beijing in 2008, ahead of a Nastia Liukin– and Johnson-led U.S. team, then dropped back behind the U.S., taking fourth in 2012 and bronze in 2016 with silver medals at the last two world championships with team events in 2014 and 2015.
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