Nastia's debut senior competition- the 2005 American Cup
Nastia's all-around performances in Beijing that won her the gold medal
Love her or hate her, you've got to admit that her performances were near flawless that day. She performed with such confidence, looking back it is no suprise that she took the title. I do believe that Shawn was the better athlete (more consistent), but in the end it's about who does the best on the day of the competition.
In 2011, we saw a young Gabby Douglas, a new senior compete for Chow's alongside Shawn Johnson, who was making her first comeback attempt. Gabby's power and athletic ability were obvious, but nervy performances meant that she finished way down in the standings. Marta obviously saw great potential in this young lady, and she made the Worlds Team to Tokyo, where with a much improved performance placed 5th in the qualifications behind team mates Jordyn Wieber and Aly Rasiman, and qualified to the bars final.
Gabby's very rookie performance on beam at the 2011 US Nationals
Gabby's World Championship experience obviously did wonders for her confidence and she came back very strong in 2012, with impressive routines on all four apparatuses (including an Amanar on vault). She ALMOST took the Nationals title over Jordyn Wieber and raised many eyebrows. The transformation was astonishing, people were starting to believe that Gabby could win the Olympic all-around competition. It seems like Coach Chow worked his magic with her as well, and Gabby sailed her way through the Olympics all-around final to take the title over Russia's top qualifier Viktoria Komova, and team-mate Aly Raisman, who faltered on beam.
Gabby's MUCH improved floor routine from the 2012 US Nationals
Gabby and Chow share a moment after the all-around final in London
Both Nastia and Gabby did not experience the same hype as Shawn and Jordyn leading up to the Games. You have got to wonder if that helped them in any way.
Article by Imogen Browne (Follow on twitter @Iflip4gymblog)