by Lynn Elber
AP Television Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP)—Olympic champion Gabby Douglas basked in the “Tonight” spotlight and the admiration of fellow guest Michelle Obama, but the teenager already is thinking ahead to 2016.
Host Jay Leno, who noted that Douglas’ last name was an anagram for “USA gold,” asked Monday if the gymnast intended to compete in the next Summer Games, in Rio de Janeiro.
|IN THE SPOTLIGHT—This Aug. 13 photo shows first lady Michelle Obama, left, Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas and host Jay Leno during a taping of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” in Burbank, Calif. (AP Photo/NBC, Margaret Norton)
“Oh, definitely,” she replied, reaffirming previous statements.
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 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 title. She and her teammates gave the U.S. its first Olympic title in women’s gymnastics since 1996.
She admitted indulging in post-Olympics fast food to the wrong person: healthy eating advocate 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 Obama and Leno with a detailed description of how, starting at age 6, she learned to navigate the 4-inch-wide balance beam.
The host wanted to know if the dream of winning matched the reality.
“I think it’s very different, and when I mean ‘different,’ it’s in a better way,” Douglas replied. “I mean, I never thought I would be doing the show with the first lady, or even you, Jay.”
On another sports-related topic, Leno put the first lady on the spot about what he called “this whole kiss cam thing” at a recent basketball game.
Last month, she and President Barack Obama were at a U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team exhibition game in Washington when the arena’s “Kiss Cam” panned to them. She appeared to shake her head “no” to a smooch.
That’s not what happened, Obama told Leno.
“I had just walked in and sat down, and I just saw my face on the Jumbotron. And I’m still a little embarrassed…I didn’t see the ‘kiss cam’ part,” she said.
After the couple was booed, daughter Malia set them straight.
“She was just disgusted with us,” Obama recounted. “She said, ‘Why didn’t you kiss?’”
The 14-year-old quickly proved her skills as a problem-solver.
“I’ve arranged for you to get another chance on the kiss cam,” she told her parents, according to the first lady. The president delivered, giving the first lady a big kiss on the lips and adding a peck on the forehead for good measure.
Then Leno turned serious, asking Obama what she’s proudest of in her husband’s first term.
“Truly, health reform,” including protection for those with pre-existing conditions,” she said.