There’s just something about our gymnasts that capture the heart of America. Maybe it’s because they have a little-sister air that makes you hold your breath on the balance beam dismount, close your eyes as they swing on the uneven bars, grab someone’s hand during the vault, and stand up to cheer when they finish the floor routine. This has never been more true than watching the Fab Five in London, and right in the middle of the five is Golden Gabby Douglas.
When Jordyn Wieber failed to qualify for the individual all around, the nation pinned its hopes on Gabby, and she delivered. After all, Douglas = USA Gold (think about it). I can’t take credit for figuring out that unscrambling Douglas shows that Gabby was destined to win the USA a Gold medal– that goes to the brilliant world of Twitter.
But Gabby made gymnastic history becoming the first woman of color to win the all-around gold medal. She was also the first American gymnast to win both the team gold and the all-around gold. She gunned for another gold this morning on her best event, the uneven bars, but a couple over corrections took her all the way down to eight place and out of medal contention. Tomorrow (Wednesday) she has another shot at gold on the balance beam in her final day of competition at the London 2012 Olympic games.
Her energetic personality is easy to fall in love with, and her competitive spirit is something worth rooting for. But what makes this Olympian a bit more human is how easy it is to relate to her. Her parents are separated, and as a single mother with four children, Gabby’s mom Natalie Hawkins just hasn’t been able to make ends meet, especially since she has been on long-term medical disability and went six months without any income. Add in Gabby’s training and her move from Virginia to Des Moines, Iowa, it’s amazing that the family was able to stay afloat this long. These sad realities are things that almost everyone has been affected by, either directly or indirectly, allowing almost all Americans to sympathize or empathize with her. Now with two gold medals (and she still has a shot for another medal tomorrow) Douglas will be making millions of dollars in endorsements; already she will be appearing on the cover of the Corn Flakes box. Hopefully all these endorsements will be able to help her mother.
That’s the real miracle of the Olympics. It’s athletes that are competing purely for the love of their sport, and they have one shot at making their dreams come true.
Check out these 15 pictures of Golden Gabby, the Flying Squirrel and think about everything she overcame to get here. It’s fine if you get a little teary eyed.
See more of the best photos of Gabby Douglas from the 2012 Olympics on Newscom.
Find more photos at Newscom.
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