Gabrielle Douglas stands at a daunting 4 feet and 11 inches tall and weighs some 90 lbs soaking wet at 16 years of age. The real story is how quickly she rose from a mediocre gymnast to meteoric heights snatching the women's individual all-around gold medal in a clutch performance at the 2012 Summer Olympic games in London.
Gabby started training in gymnastics at age 6 in Virginia, taking after her older sister Arielle. Her childhood fascination with the sport and years of relentless toil and training to overcome her inconsistencies under the watchful eye of coach Chow Liang will all come together seamlessly on the biggest stage, under the brightest lights, witnessed by the largest audience thus far.
In 2010 it took some convincing before Gabby's mom Natalie Hawkins will agree for her to move from Virginia to Iowa to train under coach Chow, the former coach for Shawn Johnson at the Beijing Summer Olympics.
All that sacrifice away from her Virginia beach home, the home sickness and the moments of doubt came down to last Thursday night's competition where she chalked 15.96 on vault, 15.733 on bars, 15.500 on beam and 15.033 on floor, living up to her nickname "The Flying Squirrel."
The bubbly teenager with the infectious smile took her position on the podium smiling and waving to friend and foe as she soaked in the gold dust shower.
She represented her self and her sport well at the games and made history in the process. She is the first African-American to win the all-around gymnastics women's title, and that no doubt will earn her endorsement deals and name recognition. Industry experts note that with her killer personality, vivacious energy and winning smile, marketing executive's dream combination, she may well earn 30 contracts over the next decade possibly earning to the north of 90 million dollars.
Gabby on her part says "I just want people to know it took a lot. It took a lot of hard days in the gym and determination, passion and drive. Gold medals are made out of your sweat, blood and tears, and effort in the gym every day, and sacrificing a lot that you have to do."
Her path has and is not always paved in gold as her parents are currently in the middle of a divorce. But through it all the tenacity , the physical and mental strength worthy of Olympic Champion should see her through. The story of inspiration is Gabby's and the students of future success will pay attention!
Thanks for stopping by...