Here We Go Again: As NBC Focuses on Others Gabrielle Douglas Shines

Here We Go Again: As NBC Focuses on Others Gabrielle Douglas Shines


Well it seems like NBC news is at it again. The television network is up to its usual tricks: selecting which athlete on the U.S. Olympic Team we should root for.

Every four years, as part of its coverage tradition, the network pulls together heartwarming human interest stories highlighting the road to the Olympics for various athletes.  And for some sports, they select (for viewers apparently) who should be the little darling we should keep our eyes on. And many times they are wrong.

Earlier this week, Gabrielle Douglas beat her training mate, and probable rival, to win the top spot. But, after Douglas secured the win, the only guaranteed spot on the team during the Olympic trials final, a substantial amount of the interviews, coverage and discussion was on Number 2: Jordyn Wieber.

A superstar in her own right, Wieber, is the reigning world all-around champion and two-time U.S. world all-around champ.  She had bested Douglas in many competitions leading up to the Olympic Games and was an all-out favorite to win.  After a near perfect performance on the uneven bars (her specialty) and vault, following a rocky parallel bar performance, Douglas needed a score of 15.25 or better to pass Wieber.

Her stadium-rocking floor exercise cinched the guaranteed entry with a score of 15.30.

Wieber did make the team – as did McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Kyla Ross. All are expected to become only the second team to bring home gold for the U.S.  But the #1 and #2 finishers last night trained together in Des Moines, Iowa with Liang Chow.

Viewers will have to battle with coverage pushing them to favor certain team members over others, despite the natural friendly competitiveness for individual medals. It was done in 1996 with the Magnificent 7 team that won the first U.S. Gold Team medal ever. The more talented gymnast who ended up winning, and holds the record, for being the most decorated American Olympian in history was Shannon Miller – yet, she was stiffed with regard to coverage.

It seems NBC wanted the cute and adorable Dominique Moceanu to be the shining star or the equally adorable Kerri Strug. As history shows, that didn’t quite pan out for Moceanu. Strug stuck her vault, and secured the U.S. gold victory when she endured pain, landed on one injured ankle and ushered in one of the most iconic moments in Olympic history when coach Bela Karolyi had to carry her to the gold medal podium.

Also that year, NBC didn’t bother to even show Dominique Dawes performance which got her a third place medal in the floor individual medal competition.  Dawes became one of only one of three U.S. women to win an individual medal that year.

Does the U.S. not care that one of its athletes beat out dozens of others for the third place spot or is it that we only care about gold or medals won by the NBC darlings?  It’s best to let the viewers root for the entire team and to quit picking winners and losers. Elevate and highlight all of our athletes.

Gabby’s dad is on his third tour of duty serving in the U.S. military and she comes from a large family where all the kids, including her two older sisters and older brothers, are active in sports. Sounds like a great all-American story to me, one also deserving to be told.


  1. Douglas and Wieber do not have the same coach. Wieber trains in Michigan at Twistars with John Geddert while Douglas trains with Chows at Iowa's Chows Gymnastics and Dance Institute. Also girls don't do parallel bars they do uneven bars.

      • It still needs to be updated. "But the #1 and #2 finishers last night trained together in Des Moines, Iowa with Liang Chow" and "After a near perfect performance on the uneven bars (her specialty) and vault, following a rocky parallel bar performance" are still wrong.

      • Gabrielle's father is not currently on his 3rd tour. It has be cited in several articles that he returned in Oct. 2011. It has also been cited that her father is not, nor has he ever been, involved in Gabrielle's life or career. Per the Family's blog, various news articles & even mentioned by the NBC commentators during the 2012 Olympic Trials broadcast, it is evident that Gabby's Mom has solely supported her career as well as her other children.

  2. I'm not sure where P365 is getting their facts from. Search "Gabrielle Douglas" and dozens of articles will show up about how both she and Jordyn Weiber are the two favorites to win gold in the all-around olympic championships. While I do think Gaby deserves the limelight for winning the trials and being one of the headliners for the London Games, its important to note that Gabrielle won the olympic trials that happened a week ago. That would mark her first official victory over Jordyn while Jordyn carries with her a plethora of accolades, including winning the World Championships last year……

    • Well, now they can throw in that nothing certain until the very end! It is so unfortunate the "darling" won't even get to compete for something she worked so hard for. I hate this for her, but it is good to highlight the ever present hope in competitions!

  3. Gabby Douglas had a rocky experience on the balance beam – women do not compete on parallel bars, the men do. In addition, the two top performers at the Olympic Trials, namely Gabby Douglas and Jordyn Weiber, do not both train in Des Moines – only Douglas does. Weiber is from Michigan. Lastly, in the 1996 Gold medal finals for the U.S. team, as impressive as Kerri Strug's effort was to land a second vault on a sprained ankle, the team did not need that score to count, they already had the gold medal on a points basis. You seriously need to check your facts.

  4. And Shannon Miller did not win the gold in the All-Around she won the silver. However she became the first American woman to win the Balance Beam at the Olympics before Shawn Johnson (who was the training partner of Gabby Douglas I think you meant earlier from Chow's gym in Des Moines) who followed it up in 2008 at Beijing.

  5. Ya know, I have seen loads of well deserved coverage of Gabby, and thought that Jordyn was sort of already being portrayed as a has been, just because she finally lost to Gabby.

    I also well remember the huge hype around Moceanu, but almost NO coverage of Kerri Strug…till AFTER she did that vault, then it was like *scramble, scramble* to find out about that kid, who had quietly contributed to the rise of US gymnastics over the past 5 or so years. She was truly more of a brides maid till that vault. Dominique got a well deserved fluff during the Olympicabous of 96 about what a fab athlete she was. Of course, little Moceanu still got more coverage than Miller, Dawes, and certainly Strug.

    In 2008, they hyped both Nastia and Shawn (as they seem to be doing with Douglas and Wieber…"rivalry hype") and that turned out to be spot on.

    I really don't see what you are referring to, honestly, beyond the "adorable, marketable Moceanu thing.

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  7. NBC is racist so this isn't new. I could care less that Wieber cried this is sports and she lost to Gabrielle fair and square. NBC is indeed racist but Gabrielle isn't going to let NBC's prejudice stop her. I was thrilled that Gabrielle beat Wieber. NBC prefers little white girls to win gold medals than black girls. But Gabrielle Douglas is an inspiration to all those young black girls out there that WANT to become gymnasts. Gabrielle has done so much and I am proud of her and her family.

  8. I'm not going to say NBC is racist since I don't know what's in there heart, but while watching Gabby's routine which rocketed her to win the gold medal, I did notice the commentators were eerily silent as she hit each of her elements. One of the commentators even tried to point out that she may have stepped out of bounds on one of her passes. She hadn't. Before it was even known whether Gabby would take the gold, they seemed more concerned about whether Aly Raisman would take the bronze She didn't. I just kept waiting to hear the excitement level displayed when the women won gold for the team competition. I didn't.

    As to the many comments focusing solely on the errors in your post, use them to motivate yourself to verify, then verify again, your sources/references on future posts. However, do not let them redirect or detract you from the premise of this post which has merit.

  9. I could not agree more with Gmoon more and I am so glad that others noticed this. This is what makes this young lady a hero to me even more. They were so unshameful with their horribly negative and biased coverage but as someone said in another blog. "The last shall be first and the first shall be last." But I really hope that a CNN producer does a bit on one of the news programs to point out the obvious bias and despicable manner that these commentators behave. I think black olympians in the 1930's got more respect than this. Now Al Sharpton and NAACP this is something you need to get behind. In the meantime, everybody needs to express outrage.It was just so blatant!

  10. OH OKAY – SO ACCORDING TO YOU, WE'RE STILL ONLY ALLOWED TO FOCUS ON ONE PERSON – AND that person is the one YOU CHOSE, Gabrielle Douglas – but if they choose somebody else then they suck, but, if they choose the person YOU want to focus on then that's fine, huh?

    You just did what you complained about NBC doing in the first place, FOCUS on one, ignore the rest – hypocrite.

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