Flying Squirrel and Wieber Fever meet in London

LONDON Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:55am IST

U.S. gymnast Jordyn Wieber performs on the uneven bars at the U.S. Olympic gymnastics trials in San Jose, California July 1, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Blake

U.S. gymnast Jordyn Wieber performs on the uneven bars at the U.S. Olympic gymnastics trials in San Jose, California July 1, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Blake

LONDON (Reuters) - Team mates one day, heated rivals the next, American gymnasts Gabby Douglas and Jordyn Wieber may not be Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte but their showdown for the Olympic all-around gold could provide the London Games with one of its great moments.

Douglas, the tiny, bubbly 16-year-old sensation dubbed the "Flying Squirrel" is sure to become an instant Olympic favourite and could also walk away a multiple medal winner having established her credentials with an upset victory over Wieber at the U.S. trials.

Wieber may only be five months older than Douglas but the 17-year-old exudes a stoic intensity and maturity that has already carried her to a world all-around title.

Douglas and Wieber will combine forces with three team mates to try and help the U.S. claim the gold medal in the team event for the first time since 1996. However, it is their head-to-head battle for the all-around crown that has provided a mouth-watering rivalry to match Phelps and Lochte in the pool or Jamaican sprinters Yohan Blake and Usain Bolt on the track.

Their contrasting styles and personalities should add even more spice to a competition that is among the Games most anticipated events.

Douglas assures she and Wieber are the best of friends away from the gym but on the floor may the best gymnast win.

"We're best friends off the floor but on the floor it's kind of everyone for themselves," Douglas told reporters. "We want each other to do the very best... want to wish each other the very best.

"We just push each other to be better and do greater things. We just go out there and try to perform and do our very best.

"It's going to be a good one.

"I'm just going to go out there enjoy it and take it all in."

Cool, confident and focused on the task ahead, it is easy to forget that Douglas is just 16 until her teenage sensibilities betray her.

Unable to contain her excitement, Douglas's eyes widened as she described the athletes village, explaining how she just missed meeting Bolt and hoping to ride the London Eye.

But one thing Douglas will not experience at her first Olympics will be marching in for Friday's opening ceremony as coaches have decided the team should follow proceedings from the comfort of a couch with their first competition just days away.

"It feels so amazing seeing the Olympic rings everywhere, it's like, 'WOW I finally made it'.

"I've come so far and I'm going to keep striving towards my dream.

"I have nerves here and there but they are the good kind of nerves."

(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Champions League

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Swiss Indoors Basel

Swiss Indoors Basel

Federer opens Basel campaign in style, Nadal progresses.  Full Article 

Close To Collapse

Close To Collapse

Crisis deepens at Caterham Formula One team.  Full Article 

Olympic Recognition

Olympic Recognition

Kosovo granted provisional Olympic recognition by IOC.  Full Article 

WTA Finals

WTA Finals

World number one Williams walloped by Halep   Full Article 

West Indies Trouble

West Indies Trouble

ICC 'concerned' by India-West Indies dispute  Full Article 

Ivanovic Wins

Ivanovic Wins

Ivanovic enjoys freedom of underdog role against Bouchard  Full Article 

Gourlay Quits

Gourlay Quits

Chelsea chief executive quits club   Full Article 

Soccer Racism

Soccer Racism

Putin urged to act against racism in Russian soccer  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage