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Posted by / 09-Apr-2016 09:32

(Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post) The ranks of America’s Fierce Five who won team gold in London have winnowed. Earlier this year, Kyla Ross bowed out after a four-inch growth spurt, followed by Mc Kayla Maroney.That leaves two London veterans in the mix for Rio: Aly Raisman, 21, and Douglas, who said she knew from the moment the 2012 Games ended that she wanted to return.“Gymnastics is my passion, and I didn’t want to give it up,” Douglas said.“I felt too young and too fresh to give up gymnastics.” That’s when a short-lived tug-of-war began with her mother.“She really wanted to go back to training,” Hawkins said.“I really wanted to make sure that she understood any negative consequences of her decision.Struggling to rear four children largely alone, Hawkins was forced to go on disability in 2009. I heard her say that she was all alone and had no one to celebrate with,” recalled Hawkins, who couldn’t afford the trip to watch her daughter compete in Tokyo.With only a trickle of money coming in and the family’s Virginia Beach home in foreclosure, she couldn’t afford to pay the water bill. “I cried and told her, ‘I will never miss another competition as long as you’re in this sport — no matter where you go on this continent or another. I don’t care if I have to stand on the side of the road and panhandle.” Gabby Douglas’s performance at the 2012 London Olympics, where she became the first African American to win the coveted all-around gold and helped the U. women to the team gold, was among the more riveting stories of the Summer Games.

“My mental game is stronger this time,” Douglas added. I’m so confident when I go out there that I’m letting things flow instead of muscling them.” After nearly two years off, her return to training was rocky. And the upheaval likely set back her return to form. ” Hawkins said that laughter and joy in one another have gotten her family through hard times and keep them united today.

“Usually it’s thought of as a one-shot deal,” Kruse said.

The essential challenge, Kruse explained, is simply staying healthy in a full-body sport that demands mobility, flexibility, muscle strength and stability.

(Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post) " data-credit="Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post" data-image="https://img.washingtonpost.com/rw/2010-2019/Washington Post/2016/04/29/Sports/Images/JN1_85821457827691.jpg?

env=A" data-max-width="4687" data-ratio="1.591" data-title=" " data-uuid="fcba3f28-0e4a-11e6-a6b6-2e6de3695b0e"Donnell Whittenburg won the all-around silver medal at the Pac Rim Championships earlier this year after taking gold in the rings and parallel bars. at the Olympic media summit on March 7, 2016 in Los Angeles, CA.

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But a lower point followed in 2011, when her youngest — Gabby, then 15, a tiny gymnast with outsize potential and a dazzling smile — made a tearful call home from Tokyo on a borrowed cellphone to tell her mother that the U. Her world changed overnight as global media scrambled to tell the story of the 4-foot-11 trailblazer who had traveled such a difficult road. An autobiography, “Grace, Gold & Glory: My Leap of Faith,” followed, as did a Lifetime biopic, “The Gabby Douglas Story”; an Essence cover story; a Vanity Fair profile; and visits with Oprah and first lady Michelle Obama. S women’s gymnastics team members Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas talk about being nervous and their preference for being called “Fierce Five” instead of the “Fab Five.” (Sally Jenkins/The Washington Post) 2 inches.