Gabby Douglas’ winding road through gold medals at two Olympics

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Gabby Douglas‘ path to become the world’s best gymnast took her from Virginia Beach to West Des Moines, Iowa. To return for a second Olympics in 2016, Douglas went from Iowa to Los Angeles back to Iowa and finally to Columbus, Ohio.

Douglas and the 2012 U.S. Olympic women’s gymnastics team are featured on NBCSN’s Olympic Games Week coverage on Thursday night. A full schedule is here.

In October 2010 at age 14, Douglas moved from her home in Virginia Beach to live with a host family and train under Liang Chow, who coached Shawn Johnson to Olympic stardom in 2008.

Before the relocation, Douglas had finished fourth at the 2010 U.S. Junior Championships. In her first year under Chow, she was seventh in her senior nationals debut yet still named to the six-woman team for the world championships, where she earned a team gold but did not advance to the all-around final.

Douglas’ breakout came on March 3, 2012 inside Madison Square Garden, at the American Cup, the biggest annual international meet held in the U.S. She competed as an alternate since the U.S.’ two official spots were taken by Jordyn Wieber and Aly Raisman, the top Americans from 2011. Nevertheless, Douglas posted an all-around score that would have won the meet over Wieber.

From there, Douglas took second to Wieber at nationals and won the Olympic Trials to become the Olympic favorite. In London, Douglas became the first black gymnast to win an Olympic all-around, prevailing by a slim .259 over Russian Viktoria Komova.

Douglas took nine months off from the gym after the London Games. She returned to Iowa in May 2013. In a little more than a year, Douglas traded time in Des Moines and LA before landing in Ohio for good.

Douglas and Raisman both attempted a daunting task — become the first woman to make back-to-back U.S. Olympic gymnastics teams since 2000. They both came back at the March 2015 Jesolo Trophy in Italy. Seven months later, Douglas took all-around silver at the world championships behind Simone Biles.

In 2016, Douglas won the American Cup and appeared destined for the Rio Games. Even with some struggles at nationals and Olympic Trials, she was picked for the five-woman Olympic team (as a leader with Raisman and Biles). She became the first Olympic all-around champion to return for the following Olympics since Nadia Comaneci in 1980.

Douglas’ all-around title defense was short-lived. She was third overall in qualifying, but the top two were Biles and Raisman. With no more than two per country allowed in individual gymnastics finals, Douglas did not advance, but did help the U.S. team to a repeat gold.

Douglas hasn’t competed since the Rio Olympics but has not officially announced a retirement.

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MORE: Kyla Ross’ gymnastics career comes to abbreviated end

Rafael Nadal to miss U.S. Open; men’s, women’s singles fields named

Rafael Nadal
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Rafael Nadal is not entered in the U.S. Open, joining the recovering Roger Federer in missing the first Grand Slam tennis tournament since the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s the first time a Grand Slam tournament main draw will be missing both legends since the 1999 U.S. Open.

“The situation is very complicated worldwide, the COVID-19 cases are increasing, it looks like we still don’t have control of it,” was posted on Nadal’s social media. “This is a decision I never wanted to take, but I have decided to follow my heart this time and for the time being I rather not travel.”

The U.S. Open starts as scheduled Aug. 31 without fans. The rescheduled French Open, which Nadal has won a record 12 times, is scheduled to start two weeks after the U.S. Open ends. Nadal did not mention in Tuesday’s statement whether he planned to play Roland Garros.

Nadal won his fourth U.S. Open in 2019, defeating Russian Daniil Medvedev in a five-set final. That moved Nadal within one Grand Slam singles title of Federer’s record 20.

Federer previously announced he is out for the rest of 2020 following a right knee procedure.

U.S. Open Entry Lists: Men | Women

The U.S. Open fields are led by top-ranked Novak Djokovic and 23-time Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams.

Other notable players not on main-draw entry lists published Tuesday: women’s No. 1 Ash Barty and 2016 U.S. Open winner Stan Wawrinka. Other than Barty, the top 28 women in the world rankings are entered, including defending champion Bianca Andreescu.

Djokovic, Dominic Thiem, Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev are the top-ranked men in the field. Djokovic and 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic, plus first alternate (and wild-card candidate) Andy Murray, are the only male Grand Slam singles champions in the field.

VIDEO: Coco Gauff delivers speech for racial justice

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Why did Shaun White cut his hair? Carrot Top

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Shaun White said a revelatory chat with Carrot Top led to the Olympic snowboarding champion chopping off his flowing red locks more than seven years ago, according to a report.

“I went to an event in Vegas where I run into Carrot Top,” White wrote, according to a Bleacher Report AMA last Wednesday. “We were talking about our hair and he basically looked at me like you could see into his soul and he basically said he was stuck like this. And at that point it was like seeing the ghost of Christmas future. And at that point I was like omg I can change.”

White documented a meeting with Carrot Top on social media in September 2013, but that was 10 months after the haircut. They must have met in 2012, too.

White, formerly known as the Flying Tomato, posted video of the haircut in December 2012, saying he didn’t tell anybody beforehand. He had grown tired of the nickname.

He donated the hair to Locks of Love, which makes wigs for needy children.

White is known for charitable efforts for children, including with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the St. Jude Children’s Hospital. White was born with a heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot, requiring two major surgeries before his first birthday.

White, a 33-year-old who recently changed his hair color to blond, announced in February that he ended a bid to make the first U.S. Olympic skateboarding team for the Tokyo Games.

He is expected to compete for a spot in the 2022 Winter Olympics, where he could be the oldest U.S. Olympic halfpipe rider in history.

MORE: White, Shiffrin among dominant Winter Olympians of 2010s

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