Gabrielle “Gabby” Douglas, also known as “The Flying Squirrel”, began formal gymnastics training at the early age of 6 years old. By the age of 8, she had won her first major title as the 2004 Virginia State Champion. At the age of 16, she was selected to be a member of the U.S. Olympic Women’s Gymnastics team to compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England. There she became the first African-American woman, as well as the first woman of color of any nationality to win an Olympic gold medal as the All-Around Individual Champion. In addition, while winning a team gold medal, she became the first American gymnast to win gold in both the all-around individual and team competitions at the same Olympics. At the 2012 U.S. National Championships, Gabby won the gold medal in uneven bars, silver in all-around, and bronze in floor. She was also a member of the gold-winning team at the 2011 World Championships.
In December 2012, Gabby rounded out an exceptionally successful year by releasing an inspirational autobiography, titled Grace, Gold, and Glory: My Leap of Faith. The story reveals her motivational path to success as she shares the trials she faced along the way and how her strong faith encouraged her to persevere through it all. Grace, Gold, and Glory became a New York Times bestseller, debuting at No.4 on the Young Adult Bestseller List.
At just 19, Gabby Douglas’ accomplishments have not only established her as a prominent sports figure in U.S history, but have also caused her to soar in the pop culture realm. She made an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, was featured in an interview with Oprah Winfrey and was named on Barbara Walter’s list as one of the “10 Most Fascinating People of 2012”.
In 2015, Gabby burst back onto the elite gymnastics scene after a two-year hiatus. At the World Championships, she placed 2nd in the All-Around competition and the U.S. team placed 1st. She is the first reigning Olympic all-around champion since 1981 to return to the sport and win a world championships medal. She is currently training for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.