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Gabby Douglas explains move to California from Iowa

Sep 15, 2013, 1:54 PM EDT

Gabby Douglas AP

NEW YORK — Olympic all-around champion Gabby Douglas is training in California, without a coach yet, and her plan is still to return to competition at the 2014 U.S. Championships.

In August, Douglas left Iowa and the coach who guided her to double Olympic gold, Liang Chow, to join her family in California. Douglas, a Virginia native, had been living with a host family in Iowa.

“I went to the gym and said goodbye to everyone,” Douglas said at the Right To Play Gymnastics Festival on Sunday. “It was a really sad moment for me because I love that gym, and it’s a really great program. Some part of me wanted to be connected with my family because I hadn’t been with them in a very long time. So it was a bittersweet moment.”

She had resumed training with Chow in his West Des Moines gym in May after a post-Olympic break.

“She was a little upset,” Chow’s wife, Liwen Zhuang, told the Des Moines Register about Douglas’ goodbye at the gym. “I guess that’s a family decision for her.”

Liwen was caught “off-guard somewhat,” according to the newspaper.

“We were not really sure for a long time, because we heard from other people first,” she said. “Nothing was really confirmed. We didn’t really know for sure. We heard some rumors.

“It’s kind of awkward.”

Douglas said she still emails and texts with her former coach Chow.

“It was really tough for the both of us,” she said.

Douglas has already done interviews in California, including with Entertainment Tonight. She was a judge on the “So You Think You Can Dance” season finale Sept. 3.

Asked about her next coach, she said she was “still figuring it all out.”

“A lot of decisions,” she said. “But a good thing is I’m training. … Any coach is definitely a possibility out in L.A.”

Douglas became the first U.S. woman to win both team and individual all-around Olympic gold last year, in addition to being the first African-American woman to win the all-around.

Two members of the Fierce Five are expected to be named to the World Championships team this week — McKayla Maroney and Kyla Ross. The other two, Jordyn Wieber and Aly Raisman, did not compete this year.

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