Earlier this week I congratulated US Swimmer Michael Phelps for becoming the most decorated Olympian of all time at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Today, it is my great pleasure to give some MAJOR congratulatory LURVE to US Gymnast Gabrielle Gabby Douglas because she won the Gold Medal in the Women’s All-Around Event in London yesterday. Not only is Gabby the fourth US gymnast to win the Gold in the Women’s Gymnastics All-Around (the third in consecutive Olympics) but she is also the first African-American to win Gold in the event. Gabby did the US very, very proud yesterday! Click below to see some photos from her big day, read some deets and see what Beyoncé has to say about Gabby‘s Gold Medal win.
Gabby Douglas was still basically unknown to the outside world, just “an average good gymnast,” in the words of national team coordinator Marta Karolyi, when she showed up in March at the American Cup Olympic preview event in Madison Square Garden. Her resume paled in comparison to reigning world champion Jordyn Wieber’s. At the previous year’s world championships, for instance, Douglas’ best individual finish was a fifth place on the uneven bars. That day in New York, she competed as an exhibition athlete, meaning her scores didn’t count. But something strange happened: she finished higher than Wieber. I asked Douglas about handling the pressure of the next five months. “Pressure?” she said with a radiant smile. “I love it. I love to stick the landing like there is no tomorrow. You stick the landing and it’s like, ‘Game on.’ I’m so ready for this. My mom says I’m a fighter, a fierce competitor, and I think I am, too.” Walking away from that short conversation, I couldn’t help but think that I’d just talked to the future Olympic gold medalist. As the 16-year-old Douglas bounded from one rotation to another Thursday on what would become one of the most historic days in women’s gymnastics, her sheer love of competition, combined with an extraordinary level of self-confidence, carried her to the women’s individual all-around title, often considered the most potentially lucrative gold medal of the Summer Olympics. The first African-American gymnast to win her sport’s most revered title, Douglas became the first U.S. gymnast to win both the individual all-around gold medal and a team gold at an Olympics. She also became the fourth American to win the title, and the third in a row … Just as Tuesday’s team competition was a dominating victory for the Americans, so, too, was this. The final score was close, but it was not really as close as it sounds. Douglas ended with 62.232 points, followed by Russia’s Victoria Komova with 61.973. Russia’s Aliya Mustafina tied with American Aly Raisman for third with 59.566, but Mustafina won the bronze on a tiebreaker. Douglas said she didn’t think about being the first African-American to win this title, but others certainly did. Veteran Olympic gold medalist Dominique Dawes was watching Douglas compete from the press tribune, trying to keep her hands from shaking. “I am such a nervous ninny,” the 35-year-old Dawes said. “I feel like Gabby is my child or something. I am so anxious for her to win” … “I know it will have an enormous impact on encouraging African-Americans and other minorities to go into the sport of gymnastics,” said Dawes, who is working as an analyst for foxsports.com here. Dawes said she has received e-mails and messages on Twitter throughout these Games from women her age telling her that she was their role model. “And now,” she said, “they are telling me that Gabby is the role model for their daughters.” As Douglas talked to reporters, she never broke down, never shed a tear. The way she celebrated was the way she competed, with a calmness and confidence that she has been exuding throughout this spectacular year. Dawes, on the other hand, couldn’t begin to control her emotions. The tears rolling down her cheeks were a long time coming.
This is just the best news ever. It’s clear that Gabby trained to be a consumate professional. I understand people watching Gabby perform yesterday were in tears over her performance … she, on the other hand, stayed calm, cool and collected. What a pro! Here’s a short video report about Gabby‘s Gold Medal win:
Family, friends and fans all around the world have been offering their heartfelt congrats … including popstar Beyoncé who posted this message on her official website:
Over the years, we come to fall in instant love with Olympic athletes. In the 70′s, it was Decathlete Bruce Jenner. In the 80′s, it was Gymnast Mary Lou Renner. In the 90′s, it was Figure Skater Tara Lipinski, in the 00′s it was Swimmer Michael Phelps and now Gabby Douglas. Expect to see Gabby on cereal boxes soon, trust. Much love and congrats Gabby, you are a true inspiration and an amazing representative of the United States of America.