CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Two-time Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas says the Olympians competing in Tokyo have “her utmost respect” for still performing at the highest level with the added obstacles of a pandemic.
After their Olympic dreams were put on hold, team USA hopefuls are now flipping into global stardom.
On Saturday, 20-year-old Brody Malone stood in the lead at the US Olympic trials in his first attempt at the games.
The Georgia native qualified as the top all-arounder during the two-day U.S. Olympic gymnastics team trials in St. Louis.
Yul Moldauer, Shane Wiskus and two-time Olympian Sam Mikulak also made the team.
Super star Simone Biles stunned the crowd over the weekend. Her balance beam routine featured the “double-double” dismount named for her, a move she’s kept under wraps since the 2019 world championships.
Her performance was strong enough to ensure her chance to compete in Tokyo.
“The opportunity to come and watch her here. I heard it’s getting a bunch of buzz. It’s pretty dope,” her boyfriend Jonathan Owens told reporters during her appearance at the trials.
Douglas knows the pressure first hand from her Olympic performances in 2012’s London games and 2016’s Rio de Janeiro games.
“It’s a very special experience. And it’s a lot you know, you have to beat your body down every single or six days a week, you only have one day off, which goes by so fast,” said Douglas.
Gabby Douglas is now on the other side of the experience, but still enjoys the sport.
She explained the pandemic made this year’s Olympics more stressful for athletes.
“It’s a lot. And I can only imagine what these athletes are going through. I’ve been telling people like they have my utmost respect, because I’ve never trained during a pandemic. I’ve never competed during a pandemic. So I can only imagine how that is. And that’s going to be an added pressure and stress on everyone,” said Douglas.
Douglas shared her advice for the athletes as they prepare to compete in Tokyo.
“I recommend totally just focusing on what you need to focus on at that moment and not overwhelm yourself with all these different things. When it comes, it comes, you focus on it. But for now, let’s focus on this. And then this and then that and it really has helped me throughout my whole entire career,” said Douglas.