Gabby Douglas

Gabby Douglas

Gabby Douglas
— Gymnast —
Douglas appearing at Citi Field to throw out the first pitch for a New York Mets-Colorado Rockies game
Personal information
Full name Gabrielle Christina Victoria Douglas
Nickname(s) Flying Squirrel
Country represented  United States
Born (1995-12-31) December 31, 1995
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Residence Columbus, Ohio
Height 4 feet 11 inches (1.50 m)
Weight 90 pounds (41 kg)
Discipline Women's artistic gymnastics
Level Senior International Elite
Years on national team 2008–present
Gym Buckeye Gymnastics
Head coach(es) Kittia Carpenter
Former coach(es) Dena Walker, Gustavo Moure, Liang Chow
Music "Bon, Bon" (Pitbull, DJ Alvaro mix of "We No Speak Americano" by Yolanda Be Cool and DCUP)[note 1]

Gabrielle Christina Victoria "Gabby" Douglas[1] (born December 31, 1995)[2] is an American artistic gymnast. As a member of the U.S. Women's Gymnastics team at the 2012 Summer Olympics, she won gold medals in both the individual all-around and team competitions. Douglas is the first black woman in Olympic history to become the individual all-around champion,[3][4] and the first American gymnast to win gold in both the individual all-around and team competitions at the same Olympics as well as being the only American all-around champion to win multiple gold medals. She was also a member of the gold-winning U.S. team at the 2011 World Championships.

Early life

Douglas was born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, to parents Timothy Douglas and Natalie Hawkins.[5] She has three siblings who are Joyelle, Arielle, and Jonathan.[6] She began training in gymnastics at age six when her older sister, Arielle, convinced their mother to enroll her in gymnastics classes.[7] In October 2002, Douglas began her training at Gymstrada Gymnastics in Virginia Beach, Virginia. In July 2004, she left Gymstrada and began training at Excalibur Gymnastics.[8][9]

At the age of eight, Douglas won the Level 4 all-around gymnastics title at the 2004 Virginia State Championships.[10][11]

Junior career


Gabby made her national debut in 2008 at the US Classic in Houston, Texas, where she placed 10th in the all-around rankings. She went on to compete at the 2008 Visa Championships in Boston, Massachusetts. Placing at #16 in that competition, Douglas was not eligible for the 2008 Junior Women's National Team.[12]


In 2009, Douglas suffered a fracture in the growth plate of her wrist. Due to this injury, she was largely unable to compete and missed the 2009 CoverGirl US Classic. While she competed at the 2009 Visa Championships in Dallas, Texas, Douglas was unable to perform her full routines and competed only on balance beam and floor exercise.[13]


Douglas competed at the 2010 Nastia Liukin Supergirl Cup, a televised Level 10 meet held in Worcester, Massachusetts, where Douglas placed fourth all-around.[2]

Her first elite meet was the 2010 CoverGirl Classic in Chicago, Illinois, where Douglas placed third on balance beam, 6th on vault, and 9th all-around in the junior division.[2]

At the 2010 U.S. Junior National Championships, Douglas won the silver medal on balance beam, placed fourth all-around and on vault, and tied for eighth on floor exercise.[2]

At the 2010 Pan American Championships in Guadalajara, Mexico, Douglas won the uneven bars title, and she won a share of the U.S. team gold medal. She also placed fifth all-around.[2]

In October, at age 14, Douglas moved from Virginia Beach to West Des Moines, Iowa, to train under Liang Chow, the former coach of 2007 World Champion and 2008 Summer Olympics gold medalist Shawn Johnson.[6][14][15] Although Douglas' former coach, Walker, stated in 2012 that she was convinced Douglas could have made it to the Olympics if she had remained in Virginia Beach, Douglas said, "Something clicked in my head that said, if I really want to make this happen I need to get better coaching."[9] The impetus for Douglas's move to Iowa was when Walker had invited Chow to teach a clinic at her gym, Excalibur.[9] Douglas was impressed when Chow was able to teach her how to perform the Amanar vault in a single afternoon.[3] Douglas considered a move to Texas to train with a renowned coach there, but after that coach declined to train her out of loyalty to Walker, Douglas selected Chow.[16] Chow was initially skeptical, since Douglas had been just one of hundreds of kids at the clinic in Virginia Beach.[9] However, Chow subsequently informed Douglas's Excalibur coaches that he had agreed to train her, but pointed out that he did not recruit her, saying, "I would never recruit anybody to my program." Later on, Gabby suffered from a hamstring strain and a hip flexor injury in July. She couldn't do much during this time ,but this allowed her to improve her bar skills. [16]

Senior career


At the City of Jesolo Trophy in Italy, was part of the US team that won gold. She also placed second on floor, tied for third on beam, and placed fourth in the all-around and on vault.[2]

Douglas earned the silver medal in uneven bars at the CoverGirl Classic in Chicago.[2]

At the 2011 U.S. National Championships in St. Paul, Minnesota, Douglas tied for third on bars and placed seventh all-around.[2]

At the 2011 World Championships in Tokyo, Japan, Douglas shared in the team gold medal won by the U.S. Douglas also placed fifth in uneven bars.[17][18]


At the AT&T American Cup at Madison Square Garden in March, Douglas received the highest total all-around score in the women's competition, ahead of her teammate and current world champion Jordyn Wieber. However, her scores did not count towards winning the competition because she was an alternate.[19]

Later in March, she was part of the gold-winning U.S. team at the Pacific Rim Championships, where she also won gold in uneven bars.[20]

Douglas at the Secret U.S. Classic in 2012

At the 2012 U.S. National Championships in June, Douglas won the gold medal in uneven bars, silver in the all-around, and bronze in floor. Márta Károlyi, the National Team Coordinator for USA Gymnastics, nicknamed Douglas the "Flying Squirrel" for her aerial performance on the uneven bars.[21][22][23]

At the 2012 Olympic Trials held in San Jose, California, on July 1, Douglas placed first in the all-around rankings, securing the only guaranteed spot on the women's Olympic gymnastic team. Also in July, Douglas and her teammates were featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated Olympic Preview issue. This marked the first time an entire Olympic gymnastics team had been featured on the cover of the magazine.[24] She appeared on Rock Center with Brian Williams on July 19, where she discussed her family background and Olympic ambitions.[25] On July 20, Douglas was featured on one of five Time magazine Olympic covers.[26]

Summer Olympics

Douglas and her teammates, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross, and Jordyn Wieber (nicknamed the "Fierce Five"), won the team all-around gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics.[27][28] She then won the gold medal in the individual all-around, becoming the first African-American woman, as well as the first woman of color of any nationality, to win the event.[4][29][30][31] She is also the first American gymnast ever to win both the team and individual all-around gold at the same Olympics.[32] Douglas finished eighth in uneven bars,[33][34] and seventh in balance beam.[35] She is the first all-around champion to fail to medal in an individual event since women's gymnastics was added to the Olympics in 1952.[36]

On August 3, the Kellogg Company announced that it would feature a picture of Douglas standing on the podium with her gold medal on special-edition boxes of Corn Flakes in the fall. This breaks the tradition of Olympic athletes appearing on Wheaties boxes.[37] On August 13, Douglas appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, which also featured U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama.[note 2]

On August 26, Douglas spoke about racist bullying at Excalibur Gymnastics in an interview with Oprah Winfrey and how it nearly made her quit the sport. She described an incident in which she had heard other girls at the gym say "Why doesn’t Gabby do it? She's our slave" when chalk needed to be scraped off the bars.[38] The CEO of Excalibur Gymnastics, Gustavo Maure, has denied these claims.[39]


In September 2012, Nintendo announced that Douglas would be part of a new ad campaign for New Super Mario Bros. 2.[40] On September 6, Douglas participated in the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. She and her Fierce Five teammates introduced Alicia Keys, who sang "Girl on Fire".[41] Keys was joined by Nicki Minaj who rapped her verses from the Inferno Remix of the song.[42] When Minaj rapped the line "But I got 'em aggy, cause I win the gold like Gabby", Douglas appeared on stage and performed a brief routine containing cartwheels, jumps and back hand springs.[43][44]

In December 2012, Douglas released her autobiography, Grace, Gold, and Glory: My Leap of Faith.[45] The book debuted at number four on The New York Times Young Adult Bestseller List.[46] In August 2013, Douglas moved to Los Angeles to be with her family. Although she is no longer training with Chow, she said that she is still preparing to compete in the 2016 Olympics.[47]

In mid-April 2014, Douglas returned to Iowa to train once more with Coach Chow, in an attempt to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Chow and his wife were delighted to have Gabby return to the Iowa gym, which they had not expected she would after her departure to Los Angeles in summer 2013. Gabby will train alongside national team member Rachel Gowey (Sr.) and promising junior Norah Flatley, who many consider similar to both Gabby and Shawn in performance style.[48]

In mid-July, it was announced that Douglas had once again left Chow's Gymnastics & Dance Institute.[49] She remained in the market for a new coach until the beginning of August, when news broke that Douglas would train under Kittia Carpenter at Buckeye Gymnastics in Columbus, OH. Nia Dennis, national team member, also trains at Buckeye. Carpenter announced that Douglas will not aim to return to competition at the 2014 national championships, as previously planned, but would instead train with a goal of returning in time for Worlds 2015. The stated reasoning for Douglas's delay is that she wishes to return as strong - or stronger - as when she left. National Team Coordinator Marta Karolyi, who expressed satisfaction and some surprise with Douglas's physical condition at her first two national team training camps back (while she was once again working with Chow), commented on Douglas's planned comeback in OH, "My wish is that she will be consistent in her training. And if that's what she will do, I think she will be fine. But if she jumps up and down and left and right, it will be much harder." [50]

Douglas had a small acting role on the Disney XD series Kickin It in the episode "Gabby's Gold", which aired on August 12, 2013.

Awards and honors

Douglas was a nominee for the Laureus World Sports Award for Breakthrough of the Year. In June 2013, Douglas received two BET Awards for her accomplishments.

In December, the Associated Press named her the Female Athlete of the Year. Douglas became the fourth gymnast to receive the honor.[51] On September 4, Douglas led the Pledge of Allegiance at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.[52] The night before the election, Douglas appeared at President Barack Obama's campaign rally in Norfolk, Virginia, where she introduced Stevie Wonder and Olympic track and field gold medalist Francena McCorory.[53]

Personal life

Douglas is a Christian. Douglas has spoken about her faith saying, "I believe in God. He is the secret of my success. He gives people talent”[54] and "... I love sharing about my faith. God has given me this amazing God-given talent, so I'm going to go out and glorify His name."[55] Douglas' mother says that her name means "God's able-bodied one".[56]


Competitive History

Year Event Team AA VT BB UB FX
2010 Nastia Liukin Cup 4th
Pan American Championships 1st 5th 1st
Covergirl Classic 9th 6th 3rd
Visa Championships (junior) 4th 4th 2nd 8th
2011 City of Jesolo Trophy 1st 4th 3rd 2nd
Covergirl Classic 2nd
Visa Championships 7th 3rd
World Championships 1st 5th
2012 Pacific Rim Championships 1st 1st
Secret U.S. Classic 1st 7th 3rd
Visa Championships 2nd 1st 7th 3rd
U.S. Olympic Trials 1st 1st 6th 3rd
Olympic Games 1st 1st 7th 8th

See also


  1. ^ Douglas responds on Twitter to Pitbull and acknowledges his "Bon, Bon" version. "Gabrielle Douglas – @gabrielledoug". Twitter. August 7, 2012. @gabrielledoug Thank u for using Bon Bon 4 your floor routine...congrats on the golds! daleeeeeeee! Pitbull · Tue · RT · @ · ♥
    haha lol!! Thanks np!!! :)) gabrielledoug · Tue · RT · @ · ♥
    "Bon Bon" samples DJ Alvaro's mix of " 
  2. ^ During the interview, Douglas mentioned a post-Olympics celebratory purchase of an Egg McMuffin from McDonald's, which Obama teased her afterward.
    "Michelle Obama scolds Gabby Douglas for fast-food splurge".   – includes video from
    The Monday metered ratings for Douglas's appearance were the highest for the talk show in 2012 since the night after the Super Bowl.
    Patten, Dominic (August 14, 2012). "Gabby Douglas & Michelle Obama Give ‘Tonight Show’ A Bump". 


  1. ^ "Gabby Douglas". Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Gabrielle Douglas Bio – USA Gymnastics". Retrieved October 8, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Macur, Juliet (August 2, 2012). "A Very Long Journey Was Very Swift".  
  4. ^ a b Corneau, Allison (August 2, 2012). "Gabby Douglas Wins Gold in Women's All-Around Olympic Gymnastics".  
  5. ^ Pucin, Diane (June 18, 2012). "Gymnast Gabrielle Douglas adjusts well to spring to the top".  
  6. ^ a b Suhay, Lisa (July 30, 2012). "Olympic women's gymnastics: Gabby Douglas and parenting gold".  
  7. ^ Emmert, Mark (July 2, 2012). "Assist from sister sends Gabby Douglas to London".  
  8. ^ Douglas, Gabrielle and, Burford, Michelle (2012). Grace, Gold, and Glory: My Leap of Faith. New York: Harper Collins. p. 36.  
  9. ^ a b c d Emmert, Mark (July 27, 2012). "2012 Olympics: Gabby Douglas' former coach still feels sting".  
  10. ^ Luca, Olivia (July 7, 2012). "From her living room to London: Gabby Douglas strives for success at Olympics". San Jose Mercury News. 
  11. ^ "Gabby Douglas". Retrieved August 6, 2012. 
  12. ^ Douglas, Gabrielle and, Burford, Michelle (2012). Grace, Gold, and Glory: My Leap of Faith. New York: Harper Collins. pp. 92, 93.  
  13. ^ Douglas, Gabrielle and, Burford, Michelle (2012). Grace, Gold, and Glory: My Leap of Faith. New York: Harper Collins. pp. 92, 93.  
  14. ^ Emmert, Mark (July 15, 2012). "Gabby Douglas' West Des Moines family can't imagine life without Olympian".  
  15. ^ Taylor, Phil (August 2, 2012). "Life-changing victory for Douglas". ( Retrieved August 3, 2012. 
  16. ^ a b Robinson, Tom (March 29, 2012). "For gymnast, it's Olympic dreams and hard feelings".  
  17. ^ "U.S. wins women's gymnastics title". UPI. October 11, 2011. 
  18. ^ Turner, Amanda (September 21, 2011). "Wieber Leads US Women's Team to Tokyo". InternationalGymnast. Retrieved September 23, 2011. 
  19. ^ "Gabby Douglas after Dominating the 2012 American Cup, Despite Being the Meet's Alternate". March 3, 2012. Retrieved March 5, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Pac Rim Championships – Senior Event Finals Results". March 18, 2012. Retrieved March 25, 2012. 
  21. ^ Florek, Michael (July 29, 2012). "10 things you may not know about US gymnast Gabby Douglas". USA TODAY. 
  22. ^ Pucin, Diane (July 2, 2012). "Gabrielle Douglas gets guaranteed spot on women's gymnastics team".  
  23. ^ "Flying Squirrel and Wieber Fever Meet in London".  
  24. ^ Emmert, Mark. "Gabby Douglas, gymnastics team make Sports Illustrated cover".  
  25. ^ Dalbey, Beth (July 19, 2012). "America Watches As Gymnast Gabby Douglas Heads to London 2012 Olympics". West Des Moines Patch. Retrieved July 20, 2012. 
  26. ^ Florek, Michael (July 19, 2012). "Ryan Lochte, Gabby Douglas, Lolo Jones get TIME covers".  
  27. ^ Armour, Nancy (July 31, 2012). "Americans live up to the hype and then some, adding 1st Olympic gold since ‘96 to world title". The Washington Post. Associated Press. Archived from the original on August 31, 2012. Retrieved August 1, 2012. 
  28. ^ Rexrode, Joe. "With Fab Five , U.S. gymnasts pick Fierce Five". August 9, 2012. Retrieved August 14, 2012.
  29. ^ Hinnen, Jerry (August 2, 2012). "Gabby Douglas wins all-around gold medal". CBS Sports. Douglas – the first woman of color, of any nationality, to win the event 
  30. ^ Wolfe, Sarag (August 2, 2012). "US gymnast Gabby Douglas wins all-around gold medal". GlobalPost. 
  31. ^ Whiteside, Kelly (August 2, 2012). "USA's Gabby Douglas takes gold in women's all-around".  
  32. ^ Clarke, Liz (August 2, 2012). "Gabby Douglas wins gold in women’s gymnastics all-around; Aly Raisman loses tie for bronze".  
  33. ^ Rogers, Martin (August 6, 2012). "Gabby Douglas fails to repeat magic on bars but remains the darling of Olympic gymnastics". Retrieved August 6, 2012. 
  34. ^ "London 2012, Gymnastics Artistic, Women's Apparatus, Final – Uneven Bars" (PDF).  
  35. ^ Stiles, Adam (August 7, 2012). "2012 London Olympics: Gabby Douglas Falls Off Balance Beam In Final". Washington, DC:  
  36. ^ "Protest, near perfection lift USA's Aly Raisman –". August 7, 2012. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  37. ^ Jiggetts, Lauren (August 3, 2012). "Gabby Douglas Gets Cereal Box Billing". NBC News. Retrieved August 8, 2012. 
  38. ^ Chen, Joyce (August 27, 2012). "Gabby Douglas to Oprah: I was 'bullied,' called 'slave' during early gymnastics training in Virginia". New York Daily News. 
  39. ^ Finn, Natalie (August 27, 2012). """Gabby Douglas' Ex-Gym Denies Claim of Bullying, Racism: "We Are Good People. E! News Online. Retrieved September 1, 2012. 
  40. ^ "Gabby Douglas Goes For Gold In New Super Mario Bros. 2 Ad" (YouTube). Nintendo. October 1, 2012. Retrieved October 5, 2012. 
  41. ^ Trust, Gary (September 7, 2012). "Weekly Chart Notes: tobyMac, Alanis Morissette, Alicia Keys". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  42. ^ Markman, Rob (September 6, 2012). "Nicki Minaj, Alicia Keys Deliver Golden VMA Performance With Gabby Douglas".  
  43. ^ Anon. (September 7, 2012). "Gabby Douglas Does Gymnastics During Alicia Keys Nicki Minaj VMA Performance". Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  44. ^ Finn, Natalie (September 7, 2012). "Five Biggest Jaw-Droppers From the MTV Video Music Awards". E! Online. Retrieved February 27, 2013. 
  45. ^ "Gabby Douglas to Publish Inspirational Memoir". People. September 6, 2012. 
  46. ^ Cowles, Gregory (December 23, 2012). "Best Sellers Young Adult". The New York Times. 
  47. ^ Miller, Bryce (August 21, 2013). "Gabrielle Douglas no longer living, training in Iowa".  
  48. ^
  49. ^
  50. ^
  51. ^ Armour, Nancy (December 21, 2012). "Gabby Douglas Wins AP Female Athlete Of The Year Honors". Huffington Post. Associated Press. Retrieved February 27, 2012. 
  52. ^ "Gabby Douglas Leads the Pledge of Allegiance at the 2012 Democratic National Convention". CBS News. November 19, 2012. 
  53. ^ "Gabby Douglas Appears at Rally for Barack Obama" (Twitter). Gymnastics November 19, 2012.  – reprint of Twitter post
  54. ^ "Gabrielle Douglas". 
  55. ^ "Olympic Gymnast Gabrielle Douglas Says Faith Is Her Foundation". 
  56. ^ "Gabby Douglas Tweets Bible Verses; Christian Rapper Lecrae Applauds Her Devotion". 

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