Olympic champion Gabby Douglas leaves her Iowa-based coach
Gabby Douglas is on the move.
The Olympic all-around gymnastics champion left coach Liang Chow’s gym in West Des Moines, Iowa, earlier this week to join her family in California after a recent move from Virginia Beach, Va. The 17-year-old remains on “good terms” with Chow, Missy Parton, whose family hosted Douglas in Iowa, said Wednesday.
Chow is out of the country and could not be reached for comment. Douglas’ mother, Natalie Hawkins, did not immediately return a phone call from The Associated Press.
The Des Moines Register first reported the move.
“She came over (Monday) and said goodbye to us,” Liwen Zhuang, Chow’s wife and co-coach, told the Register. “I didn’t ask her (the reasons). I did talk to her. She was a little upset. I guess that’s a family decision for her.”
Under Chow’s guidance, Douglas won two gold medals at last summer’s London Olympics. She helped lead the “Fierce Five” to the team title, only the second for the U.S. women, then became the fourth American to win the all-around title.
The gold medals, along with her bright smile and bubbly personality, kept Douglas in the spotlight long after the Olympics were over. In addition to numerous sponsorship deals, she appeared on magazine covers, walked red carpets and made guest appearances on TV shows. While Douglas enjoys her celebrity status, she has said repeatedly she wants to compete at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
She returned to Chow’s gym in May, and said last week that she hoped to return to competition sometime next year.
“It’s incredibly hard to come back because after the Olympics, there are so many opportunities you get to do. And I think some people get caught up in, ‘Oh, I don’t want to do another Olympics, I want to keep being in the spotlight,’” Douglas said while at the U.S. championships in Hartford, Conn. “I want to come back. I’m three months into training, everything is going well. I’m coming back, and I want to compete in 2014.”