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She ended her night with a rousing floor routine that may as well have been a victory lap. Floor is the one event the stoic Wieber lets her personality show, and she was even sassier than normal as she strutted and pranced through her dance moves. She stuck the landings of her tumbling runs so emphatically you could hear it throughout the arena.
"I just loved the way she went out and attacked it," Geddert said. "She had some issues so there's room for improvement and it's my job to point that out. I don't think we've ever had a meet where I didn't say, `There are things to improve.' We're still waiting for the perfect meet."
Douglas has emerged as Wieber's biggest rival, reminiscent of the battle between Liukin and Shawn Johnson four years ago. But she couldn't overcome a mistake on her very first event.
Going up last on uneven bars, she lost her rhythm midway through the routine and stalled on a pirouette. She stayed motionless for several seconds, gripping the bar tightly with her hands and using every bit of muscle she had not to fall off.
"Man, I was using every single muscle," Douglas said. "I just pulled it out of nowhere. That was God. And someone blowing (at) me from the stands."
She hung on somehow and completed the rest of her routine, but her 15.250 was well below her usual score. She also had a big wobble on balance beam.
But Douglas rallied on floor exercise, posting the second-best score of the night with a routine that was worth every penny of the fans' ticket.
Turn on Douglas' bouncy techno music and it's like turning on a light. Make that a spotlight that could power a small city, actually. Unlike many gymnasts, whose could use Muzak for as much as they acknowledge their music, Douglas glands her tumbling runs right on the biggest beats, giving them both extra oomph. And the air she gets on uneven bars? She's got some pretty mean hops on floor, too, looking like a rubber ball as she bounced from one landing into her next skill.
She finished with the third-best vault of the night. But it wasn't enough to leapfrog Wieber.
"It's not her goal to beat anybody," Geddert said. "But she's a competitor. When there's a tight race, she steps up."
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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