Gabby Douglas: The Great Black Hope

11:37 PM Arabian Punch Front 3 Comments

Dylan Martinez, REUTERS

My roommate's boyfriend didn't understand all the hype that Gabby was getting after the American Cup. He used every argument known to mankind. "So, what, she's suddenly 'the Great Black Hope?' She wasn't even competing. There was a reason she was the alternate. She didn't really compete. It's only 1 meet!" And the list goes on.

Today, I got a text, "Joy unbounded." Indeed! How many of us thought that the girl who finished 19th of 20 at the 2011 National Championships on balance beam would score the highest score of the Olympics on that very same event? Who thought that same girl would be our 2012 Olympic All Around Champion?

I'm thrilled that Gabby won the all around. Overall, she was the best on the day. She had that fire inside of her and the flame did not go out for the entire night. Gabby stayed strong through all 4 events.

Gabby moved from her family in Virginia Beach, Virginia to live with a host family so she could train with Liang Chow. Chow is the coach of 2008 Silver All Around Medalist Shawn Johnson. It was hard for Gabby to leave her family and live with a host family. She went to a new place and suddenly went from the youngest of 4 siblings to the oldest. Gabby also had demons to face as her dad was in the army and away for most of the time. There were nightmares where she worried her father wouldn't make it back home and one Christmas where Gabby almost returned back with her mother. Instead, she decided to stay in Iowa and fight for her dream. Today, her dream became her reality!

One thing I wanted to talk about is what an honor it must be for Chow to have received such a special gymnast when she was so young. A gymnast, just barely a teenager, that was ready to leave her life and her family behind so she could train with Chow. Gabby liked the way she saw Chow and Shawn at the Olympics and Chow was able to teach Gabby an Amanar when he visited her old gym for a clinic. From that moment on, Gabby knew she wanted Chow to be the coach that took her to the Olympics.

What an honor this must be for a coach! Chow didn't even produce the 2008 all around champion but Gabby saw something in Chow that she wanted. And, boy, did it pay off.

Missy Parton, host mom (left in red), Natalie Hawkins, mom
2nd row left to right John, brother, Arielle and Joyelle Douglas, sisters
Matt Dunham, AP

I'd just like to say thank you to Arielle for telling her mom to put Gabby in gymnastics. Thank you to Natalie Hawkins for being brave and letting your baby girl chase her dream. Thank you to Missy Parton and your family for taking Gabby under your wing. Thank you to Chow for producing the first African-American US team and all-around gold medalist.

And thank you Gabby for dreaming big. I'm sure you've inspired a generation!

source: Gabby: Women's AA Gallery


  1. The only reason shes getting tbe hype is because shes Black. Case in point. I was in Baltimore Md and saw a pole where 78% of local Balimore People thought she was the Greatest Olympian for 2012. Balimore has a Huge Black Population. Same pole on Sarasota TV. Michael Phelps....Obvious winner, he had the most medals of all time. No Mention of Gabby Douglas. Sarasota has a large white population. Im happy for Gabbys Accomplishments but Best Olympian for 2012? Nope, not Gabby.... I could live without hearing her story too. Who cares

    1. You cared enough to comment. Just because some of this may be racially motivated doesn't decrease her accomplishments. Gabby and Michael both accomplished great things. If you are a true gymnastics fan then you know how inspirational Gabby's story is whether she's black or white. And most gym fans tend to be white. Moving cross country, and especially since a year before the Games NOBODY put her in the equation for London. Let alone winning AA.

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