ABOVE PHOTO: Gabby Douglas.
By Lynn Elber
LOS ANGELES — Olympic champion Gabby Douglas basked in the “Tonight” spotlight and the admiration of fellow guest Michelle Obama, but the teenage gymnast already is thinking ahead to 2016.
Host Jay Leno, who noted that Douglas’ last name was an anagram for “USA gold,” asked Monday if she intended to compete in the next Summer Games, in Rio de Janeiro.
“Oh, definitely,” she replied.
The 16-year-old looked like a winner, dressed in a gold metallic skirt and a fitted, black motorcycle jacket. Her hair, worn in a utilitarian bun during the Olympics, was gathered in a chic ponytail.
Her best accessory were the two gold medals she carried onstage, handing one to Leno and the other to Mrs. Obama for closer inspection.
“I don’t even deserve to hold this,” Leno said later as he returned it.
Douglas became the third consecutive U.S. athlete and first African-American to win the all-around gymnastics title. She and her teammates gave the U.S. its first Olympic title in women’s gymnastics since 1996.
Douglas admitted indulging in post-Olympics fast food to the wrong person: healthy eating advocate Mrs. Obama, who teased the champion.
“You’re setting me back, Gabby,” Obama told her.
“Sorry!” replied the athlete, who confessed to chowing down on a McDonalds’ breakfast sandwich to celebrate her victories.
But she impressed Mrs. Obama and Leno with a detailed description of how, starting at age 6, she learned to navigate the 4-inch-wide (10-centimeter-wide) balance beam.