The Olympics is ultimately the best sporting event and unfortunately we have to wait every four years to experience greatness from some of the most amazing athletes in the world. Gymnastics is one of my favorite sports to watch during the Olympics; there’s never a dull moment. And this year, Gabrielle Douglas was one of the “Fab Five” USA gymnasts to bring excitement to the sport.
Dubbed the “Flying Squirrel,” Douglas was the only member of Team USA to secure her spot during the Olympics Trials. Yes that means, she was so good, there was no doubt she’d be representing Team USA in London. She is the first African American to compete in the sport on the world’s biggest stage since Dominique Dawes in 1996. That’s right, it’s been 16 years (where has the time gone!??!).
Douglas began training in gymnastics at the early age of six thanks to her sister who convinced their mom to enroll Douglas in classes. By the time she was 14 years old, she moved from Virginia Beach, VA to West Des Moines, Iowa to train with one of the best gymnastics coaches, Liang Chow (Shawn Johnson’s coach). Over the last two years, she has competed in a number of competitions:
- 2010 US Junior National Championships – Silver medal on balance beam
- 2010 Pan American Championships – Won the uneven bars title, U.S team won gold
- 2011 CoverGirl Classic – Silver medal on the uneven bars
- 2011 National Championships -Tied for third on uneven bars.
- Named to the 2011 U.S. World Championships Team
- 2012 Visa Championships – Silver in the all-around
The list above is impressive but it doesn’t stop there. This past Tuesday, Douglas helped the “Fab Five” win gold at the Olympics. She was the only member of the team to compete in all four events (beam, vault, uneven bars and floor), which means her score accounted for 30% of the team’s overall score. Talk about pressure! To add to that success, today, Gabrielle Douglas became the first African American to win a gold medal in the all-around competition!!!! Way to go Gabby!
I’ll admit, before the Olympic trials, I had never heard of Gabrielle Douglas. While Gymnastics is one of my favorite sports to watch during the Games, I don’t watch it otherwise. What is so exciting about Gabrielle Douglas is that she is humble, gratefully and has become a role model for young African American girls everywhere. Now more than ever, we need to see more positive imagery of our young women. Gabrielle Douglas is doing an amazing job showing us what is means to have faith, work hard and believes that anything is possible.
Gabrielle Douglas, you have truly made us proud! Congratulations Diva!!