Born December 31, 1995
Gabby Douglas is an Olympic gymnast who was a part of 2012’s ‘Fierce Five’ and 2016’s ‘Final Five’ which took the Olympics by storm in both London and Rio. The group of five gymnasts, who recorded historical success at both Olympics, captured the hearts of many and were provided with their nicknames during competition. Douglas is best known as the first African American to win the individual all-around event at the Olympics (2012). She also won gold medals for the US in the team competitions at the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics.
Gabby began her gymnastics training at the age of 6, and started to find major success at the age of 8. She continued to build on incredible success in her hometown of Virginia Beach, before she moved away at the age of 14 in order to pursue her Olympic dreams.
Moving to West Des Moines, Iowa, Douglas did so to work with world-renowned gymnastics coach Liang Chow – who is most-famously known for molding American gymnast Shawn Johnson. During her time away from her parents, Timothy and Natalie, Gabby stayed with host family Travis and Missy Parton in West Des Moines.
In 2010 Douglas made her first appearance on the national stage, at the 2010 Nastia Liukin SuperGirl Cup. Douglas placed fourth all-around at the nationally televised meet in Massachussetts. She then went on to place highly at a few other high-profile meets – including the 2010 Pan American Championships. At the Pan-Ams, her performance in the uneven bars (1st place) helped her team win the team gold medal.
Moving forward, in 2011, Douglas was a part of the team which captured the gold medal for the US at the 2011 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Tokyo. Then, Douglas went on to perform well at the 2012 Olympic Trials and in doing so proved herself worthy of a 2012 Summer Olympics team selection. Gabby was headed to London, and the rest is history.
Following the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Douglas came out with her first book: “Grace, Gold & Glory: My Leap of Faith.”
“Faith plays a very big role in my life,” Douglas told religionnews.com upon the release of her book. “I don’t know where I would be without it today. I’ve always been praying for everything. And my mom always exposed me and my siblings to being a Christian and the Bible. I was watching back at the Olympics and my mouth is moving – and that’s me praying.”
Alex Brasky is the creator of the local sports website www.bataviasbest.org.