Olympian Gabby Douglas Homeless, Bullied Before Winning Gold

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But just as she had after countless injuries and other setbacks, Douglas refocused on her goals. It took several family pep talks and a bit of coaching but, ultimately, she got her emotions under control and her mojo back. She threw herself into training once more and it paid off. In London, she grabbed gold in both the team and individual all-around competitions.

Corn said Douglas' bout of homesickness and self-doubt was normal, even for someone at the elite level.

"Even the best will cry and sometimes feel miserable, but in time they learn something valuable about themselves which makes them better athletes and better people," she said.

Fortunately, for Douglas, the worst seems to be behind her. She isn't ready to channel her trademark will to win into anything other than gymnastics for the foreseeable future and is now pointed towards the 2016 Olympic Games. She wanted the thousands of up-and-coming gymnasts who idolize her to know that the same sort of upbeat grit that has carried her through can help them reach their goals, too.

"I always tell them to never give up. Times may be tough but sacrifices, they do pay off. If you give up, you will always have regrets that you didn't push through and regret, that is the worst thing," she said.

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