Last updated on May 30th, 2014 at 12:10 pm
(NNPA)–Gymnast Gabrielle Christina Victoria Douglas was born in Virginia Beach on December 31, 1995. At the 2012 London Summer Olympics, she won gold medals in both the team and individual all-around competitions.
Gabby is the first African American gymnast as well as the first woman of color of any nationality in Olympic history to become the Individual All-Around Champion. She is also the first American gymnast to win gold in both the gymnastic individual all-around and team competitions at the same Olympic games.
She was introduced to gymnastics by way of a cartwheel. Her older sister, Arielle, a former gymnast and competitive cheerleader, was determined to teach the toddler the sport she loved. Gabrielle immediately picked up her older sister’s love of the sport and soon taught herself how to do a one armed cartwheel.
Gabrielle vividly remembers flipping around the house and off the furniture from the age of four. After a couple years of poking and prodding, Arielle convinced their mother to allow her little sister to train at a local gym. Once formal training began, another two years was all it took for her to be crowned the state of Virginia’s Gymnastics Champion.
Gabby soon reached her peak at her local gym, quickly accumulating numerous victories and top finishes over the next few years. The task became clear: she had to convince her mother to allow her, the youngest, to move across the country in pursuit of her Olympic dream.
This would allow her an opportunity to train with elite coach Liang Chow in West Des Moines, Iowa. Gabrielle left Virginia Beach at 14 to live with her host family, the Partons, while training with Mr. Chow. Under his tutelage she did develop the skills needed to reach the Olympics, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Here, Gabby talks about her autobiography, Grace, Gold & Glory, and About Raising the Bar, her inspirational book about how to achieve your dreams.
Interview continues next week…