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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Olympic gymnasts in Spokane tonight

When America’s finest gymnasts vault into town Thursday night, Gabby Douglas will take a long look around the Spokane Arena.

Somewhere in the stands, there might be another wide-eyed young girl – much like Douglas herself just 12 years ago as she watched the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

“That was me … I was watching on TV and I said to my mom, ‘I can do that!’ ” said Douglas, a three-time Olympic gold medalist and part of the Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions that begins Thursday night in Spokane.

Now Douglas is passing the torch – not the Olympic torch that was extinguished last month in Rio, but the figurative one that hopefully will carry America’s winning tradition to 2020 and beyond.

Beyond that, the Kellogg’s tour gives fans in 36 cities a chance to see their Olympic heroes up close. “Just seeing the crowd’s faces, that’s awesome,” said Douglas, the all-around Olympic champion in 2012 and a member of this year’s gold medal-winning team.

Some faces will be missing. “No judges!” Douglas exclaimed, her enthusiasm pulsing through the phone line during a recent interview.

However, fans are sure to give high marks Thursday night. Some of the athletes from the women’s, men’s, rhythmic and acrobatic teams will perform a variety of routines in an exhibition-style format that channels the Cirque du Soleil shows in Las Vegas/Jim Allen, SR. More here (subscription).

D.F. Oliveria
D.F. (Dave) Oliveria joined The Spokesman-Review in 1984. He currently is a columnist and compiles the Huckleberries Online blog and writes about North Idaho in his Huckleberries column.

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