Gabby soars to all-around gold

Third consecutive U.S. gymnast reaches top of Olympic podium

“It feels amazing to be the Olympic champion,” said Gabby Douglas of Virginia Beach, Va., after flying through the air en route to winning the individual all-around in women’s gymnastics Thursday night. Enlarge photo

Gregory Bull/Associated Press

“It feels amazing to be the Olympic champion,” said Gabby Douglas of Virginia Beach, Va., after flying through the air en route to winning the individual all-around in women’s gymnastics Thursday night.

LONDON

Five things to know about Thursday, Day 6 of the London Olympics:

Gabby Douglas lights up the gym with another gold.

One more time: Michael Phelps takes 200 individual medley again.

Ann Romney “thrilled” by horse’s performance.

Quite the host: David Cameron takes Russia’s Vladimir Putin to judo match.

Probe into Olympic badminton flap widens.

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Now this is fierce.

Gabby Douglas became the third consecutive American to win gymnastics’ biggest prize when she won the all-around Olympic title on Thursday. She finished with a score of 62.232, about three-tenths ahead of Viktoria Komova of Russia.

It’s her second gold medal of the London Games, coming two nights after she and her “Fierce Five” teammates gave the United States its first Olympic team title since 1996.

Douglas brought the house down with her energetic floor routine, and U.S. pals Jordyn Wieber, McKayla Maroney and Kyla Ross jumped to their feet and cheered when she finished. Douglas flashed a smile, and coach Liang Chow lifted her off the podium.

Ann Romney was on hand to watch her horse in dressage at Greenwich Park and said she was thrilled by Rafalca.

The wife of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was in the VIP section of the stadium for Rafalca’s Olympic debut, watching literally from the edge of her seat as the 15-year-old, German-bred mare completed the 7-minute Grand Prix test.

She and Rafalca’s other two owners gave horse and rider Jan Ebeling a rousing standing ovation and a wave as they left the arena. Their score of 70.243 percent put them in 13th place with half the 50 competitors still to go.

Rafalca has been the source of political jokes and Democratic ads questioning how Mitt Romney can presume to know the problems of ordinary Americans when he inhabits the rarefied world of dressage.

Politics also took center stage at ExCel when British Prime Minister Cameron joined Russian President Putin at the judo competition.

It’s not a stretch to describe Putin – an honorary president of the International Judo Federation – as the world’s best-known judo fan. Putin has been a judo competitor since his childhood, eventually gaining the rank of black belt.

“I am delighted to be taking the president to the judo, but note that we will be spectators – and not participants,” Cameron joked as the men left his Downing Street residence. The two leaders, who have squared off over the world’s response to the violence in Syria, traveled in separate cars to see the judo contests in east London.

The Olympic badminton controversy continued for a third day, with the IOC demanding a deeper investigation into the scandal and an embattled Chinese player appearing to quit the tarnished sport.

At age 14,Douglas – the future gold medal gymnast – pleaded with her mother to let her move cross country, certain a new coach could help her get to the Olympics.

Not two years after setting out on her own, Douglas beat Komova for the all-around title, the third consecutive U.S. gymnast to win the biggest prize and the African-American to do so.

“It feels amazing to be the Olympic champion,” Douglas said.

Puts her in a special category, too. Mary Lou Retton, Carly Patterson and Nastia Liukin are the only other Americans to win the Olympic all-around gold.

The Americans have been looking for their “next Mary Lou” since she won in 1984, and now they’ve got her in the 16-year-old Douglas. Throw in her adorable “Flying Squirrel” nickname and sweet backstory, and Douglas’ two gold medals certainly won’t be her only riches.“I haven’t thought about that,” Douglas said.

“I just wanted to seize the moment. You have to learn how to enjoy the moment.”

Her smile alone is enough to dazzle Madison Avenue, and her personality is bigger than she is.

In other action Thursday:

Roger Federer is in his pursuit of his first Olympic singles medal.Federer beat American John Isner 6-4, 7-6 (5) and will play No. 8-seeded Juan Martin del Potro in the semis.

Serena Williams, another reigning Wimbledon champion who is seeking her first Olympic singles medal, advanced by beating former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 6-0, 6-3.

The U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team beat Nigeria 156-73, shattering scores of records in the process. They led by 26 in the first quarter, had an Olympic-record 78 points in the first half, and Carmelo Anthony scored 37 points, including 10 of 12 3-pointers, to break the U.S. single-game scoring record in less than three quarters. “Our guys just couldn’t miss,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said. They eclipsed the 100-point mark with 5 minutes left in the third.They broke the Olympic record for most points in a game with 4:37 still to play and set U.S. records for 3-pointers (26), field goals (59) and field-goal percentage (71).

In volleyball, U.S. captain Clay Stanley scored 19 points, and the U.S. men’s team defeated Brazil 3-1 in a preliminary-round rematch of the Beijing final.

Germany’s Miriam Welte and Kristina Vogel checked a computer screen several times before erupting in laughter.Yup, Olympic champions.Welte and Vogel won the gold in sprint track cycling after the Chinese duo of Guo Shuang and Gong Jinjie was disqualified for a lane change in the final.

Gabrielle Douglas excelled on the balance beam as she won the women’s individual all-around competition at the London Olympics. Enlarge photo

Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

Gabrielle Douglas excelled on the balance beam as she won the women’s individual all-around competition at the London Olympics.