MOUNT VERNON — As Gabby Douglas stood on the podium in London with her gold medal in the women’s gymnastics all-around, 12-year-old Brittany Shaw sat and watched from her Mount Vernon home.
That could be her in four years.
Shaw has taken a big step on her way to her dream of Olympic glory. Last month, she captured first place for her level in the all-around competition at the 2012 USAG National Gymnastics Championship, which was held in Milwaukee, Wisc.
“That felt amazing,” said Shaw. “I worked really hard for this. Everyone told me I could do it if I put my mind to it. My very first event was vault, and I’m glad it was because it’s probably the one I need to work on the most. I got that out of the way.”
Along with her all-around, she was first in the floor event and first on the uneven bars. She was second on the balance beam and fifth on the vault. Shaw is confidently planning her future.
“I’m watching the Olympics,” said Shaw, who admires the former Romanian Olympic gymnast Nadia Comaneci. “I also watch the Ohio State meets all the time on TV. I got to meet some of the girls on the team at the OSU camp I went to. I want to go to OSU.”
Shaw is hoping that her athletic path will lead her to Rio de Janeiro — the site of the 2016 Summer Olympics. In four more years, Shaw will be 16 — the same age as current Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas.
“I try to get as much practice as I can to get ready for that,” said Shaw. “I’m really looking forward to that.”
Amazingly, after only competing a year and a half, this young prodigy will start out the upcoming season as a level six performer, which is the highest of the compulsory levels.