Gabs. Gabinator. Or as she is known to her family: Bri. Regardless of the name, Gabby Douglas is an all star. At just 17-year-old she has many credits to that name: clothing designer, author and most notably Olympic gold medalist. At the 2012 Olympics gymnastics competition, she became the first African-American woman and the first woman of color of any nationality to win the individual event, carving a place in history and as America’s sweetheart.
“I was kind of a daredevil child. I would climb up the door, walls and trees and flip and jump off the couch,” said Douglas.
When her older sister Arielle taught her how to do a cartwheel at age 3, there was no turning back. Just six years later, she was the state gymnastics champion.
Knowing she was destined for Olympic greatness, she convinced her mother to allow her to leave their home in Virginia to train in Iowa at just 14.
Her hard work and determination paid off at the 2012 Summer Olympics when the 4-foot-11 phenom took the games by storm. Her secret to success? “Don’t be afraid to be great!”
Now with her sights set on Rio de Janeiro in 2016, Douglas will start training for her second Olympic Games. The defending champ hopes to repeat her glory in the London games.
‘I’m just going to go out there and have fun and do my best,’ she said. Counting on the talent and grit that has made her a star on the international stage, ‘The Gabinator’ admits to falling back on a bit of superstition.
“When I was really young, I had a happy rock. It was yellow and it had a big happy face on it and I always had to rub it before competition and if I fell, I would blame it on my happy rock,” she said. Fans of Gabby Douglas will be hoping that rock doesn’t see a lot of blame. With or without her happy rock, Gabby Douglas’ legacy has already been created.