Gabrielle Christina Victoria ‘Gabby’ Douglas is an American artistic gymnast. She brought USA multiple gold medals in Olympic 2012 while being a part of United State’s Women Gymnastics Team, which earned the moniker ‘Fierce Five’ among the worldwide fans. She performed equally well in the single rounds, team competitions and raised herself a grand fan following in her home country. At the Gymnastics World Championships in 2011 and 2015, she represented her national team and brought home gold medals while playing in teams and a silver medal while playing all around. Her winning streak was unstoppable and she bagged a gold medal in team competition in 2016 Summer Olympics as the part of Final Five. Gabby is known as the first woman of African descent to have the honour of being all around champion in the Olympic history and the first American woman to become a team and individual champion at the same time. She reached the ultimate peak of her fame when her real life story became the inspiration for the 2014 motion picture ‘The Gabby Douglas Story’. Apart from that, she is also quite active in the reality television circuit and her family features in series called ‘Douglas Family Gold’.
Childhood & Early Life
Born to Timothy Douglas and Natalie Hawkins Douglas in Virginia on 31st December 1995, Gabby has three older siblings - two sisters and a brother. Gabby began showing inclination towards Gymnastics at a very young age and her surprisingly flexible body encouraged her parents to consider training her in gymnastics.
Gabby began her training at the age of six when her elder sister pushed her parents to enrol Gabby in the gymnastic classes. Gabby began her hardcore gymnastic training at a mere age of six in October 2004, which proved to be the stepping stone in her future career as a successful gymnast.
It wasn’t long after that when Gabby started participating in the competitions and started exhibiting her unique high flying skills to the awe of judges and the spectators. At a mere age of 8, Gabby surprised everyone by winning an all round competition in 2004 at Virginia State Championships.
Her parents, extremely confident with the superior talent her daughter possessed, allowed her to move to Iowa for her further training under the guidance of Coach Liang Chow. Gabby stayed with her aunt and trained hard and even now, she considers that particular period of time as the stepping stone of her professional career, and that was when she was just 14.
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In her first national debut Gabby secured the 10th place at the US Classic held in Houston in 2008 and performed quite average in a few subsequent competitions that year. Throughout the next year, Douglas suffered from injuries and was away from most of the major competitions. The year 2010 was also not quite remarkable one for her except for the U.S. Junior National Championships, where she secured a silver medal. Later that year, she suffered from an injury and took the time to sharpen her bar skills, which her coach said was her sole weakness.
She tasted success at the senior level with a gold medal in City of Jesolo Trophy which she won along with her teammates and later that year, at the World Championship 2011 held in Tokyo, she and her teammates secured the gold medal.
Her victory at the 2012 Olympic trials secured her a place in the national team for the 2012 Summer Olympics to be held in London.
She grabbed the attention of national team’s coordinator Martha Karoyli, who nicknamed her ‘Flying Squirrel’ due to Gabby’s exquisite high flying skills. Later in the Summer Olympics 2012, the gold was secured by the US team of which Gabby was an integral part, but she returned empty handed in most of the individual events. However, she won a gold medal in the individual all-around competition and she achieved a celebrity status in the United States.
Post her magnificent victory at the Olympics, she went back to Chow for training and by the end of the year, she was training under a new coach Kittia Carpenter. For the most part of 2013 and 2014, she stayed away from the competitions and used the time to further hone her skills.
She made a comeback with participating in the City of Jesolo Trophy in 2015 and was placed 4th in all around championship and 2nd in overall U.S. Classics games. Her performance was lauded and she got drafted to the senior national team and soon, her fate allowed her to secure the second spot in 2015 World Artistic Gymnastic Championship held in Glasgow, Scotland.
A spot in the 2016 Olympics was secured by her despite her being placed at 7th spot in the Olympic trials. But she didn’t disappoint and played a massive role in the gold medal victory for the US team. Her individual events performance wasn’t up to the mark as she ended up with 7th spot in the uneven bars final and was disqualified from the all around event due to some complex rules.
All the years she’s been in limelight, Gabby has faced severe criticism due to the accusations of bleaching her skin to look fair, her hairstyle and her breast enhancement treatment along with her ‘unpatriotic’ behaviour at international events. However, Gabby has denied the accusations but all these controversies had a toll on her emotional and psychological health
Gabby, along with her mother, produced a film based on her life, for the Lifetime Channel. She was just 20 years old then. Gabby has, in fact, maintained that she is inspired by the glamour world and as a result, her own reality TV show came into existence, by the name ‘Douglas Family Gold’.
In 2012, Gabby became the fourth Gymnast in the American history to be honoured with the Associated Press’s award ‘Female Athlete of the Year’. Next year, she was the recipient of two BET award for her accomplishments in the sport.
Right before the 2012 Summer Olympics, Gabby had almost decided to quit the sport for good. She cited the reason that she desired a normal life.
Gabby Douglas has her very own Barbie doll modelled after her.
She is a self confessed dog person and has two dogs.