By Jo-Ann Barnas
PITTSBURGH – For 2012 Olympic women’s all-around champion Gabby Douglas, the view looks good from here — both short term and long.
On Thursday, the vantage point was a fourth-level suite at the Consol Energy Center, where Douglas sat on the edge of her seat – literally – and cheered on pal Nia Dennis and other juniors competing on the first day of the P&G Gymnastics Championships.
As for the long term, well, Douglas certainly is sounding – and training – like the old Gabby again. She’s three weeks into her new training home at Buckeye Gymnastics in Columbus, Ohio where she’s prepping for camps this fall at the USA Gymnastics National Team Training Center in Huntsville, Texas.
As of now, Douglas said her goal is to return to competition at the 2015 Secret U.S. Classic. However, she said she’s open to an international assignment before then should women’s national team coordinator Martha Karolyi nudge her in that direction.
“I love what’s happening in my life right now,” said Douglas, who also won team gold as a member of the Fierce Five. “The gym in Ohio is awesome, and training with Nia is definitely amazing, so it’s a good mix.”
Douglas relocated to Buckeye Gymnastics to be with elite program coordinator Kittia Carpenter in late July after leaving Liang Chow for second time since winning gold at London. She had returned to Chow’s gym in West Des Moines in April, eight months after leaving, to be closer to her family in Los Angeles.
Douglas made it clear that Columbus will be her training base through the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. She’s training seven hours a day, six days a week and is currently working on “new connections’’ and “bigger skills’’ on uneven bars.
“This is the place where I’m settling,” she said. “It’s a perfect fit for me, and Nia and I are pushing each other to a different level.”
Douglas said she has grown one inch since the London Games to her present height of 5-foot.
“It’s so funny,” she said. “People say that I look taller, but I’m really not by that much. I’ve been blessed with this amazing body type. Everything still feels light.”