Happy Sunday everyone!
So today I wanted to talk about a young woman who is actually younger than me, but after learning more about her and thanks to a little thing called Netflix watching her life leading up to the Olympics, my inspirational woman this week is Gabby Douglas!
Gabrielle (Gabby) Douglas is a US Women’s Artistic gymnast. If you don’t know who she is I suggest you google or get your Netflix on immediately. Gabby made history at the 2012 London Olympics when she became the first African American gymnast (and first woman of colour of any nationality for that matter) in Olympic history to become the Individual all-around champion, as well as the first America to win gold in both the individual all round and team competitions at the same Olympic games! Not bad for someone who was only 16 at the time.
The road to success wasn’t always easy, but as I’m sure you are aware the dedication it takes any Olympic athlete to be top of their game is bound to come with struggles and sacrifice. From watching ‘The Gabby Douglas story’ it opened my eyes further to just what goes into getting to that level, and furthermore what it takes for the families of these Olympians as well. Gabby inspired me the minute I saw her story in this film, and I’ll tell you why. Gabby was first introduced to the sport by her sister, who also enjoyed gymnastics and cheerleading, however even at a young age, her sister could see that Gabby picked up the moves much quicker than most, and she saw a spark in her sister. Arielle convinced their mother to get Gabby into a gymnastics class, and from then on she did indeed shine.
During the years that she trained, Gabby and her family went through a lot of tough times, their father was no longer around and they relied solely on their mother Natalie Hawkins and their grandmother. Times were tough, the children could see their mum struggling to make ends meet. But they also saw the talent in the sister, so much so they even offered to give up their own activities and hobbies, to make sure Gabby could still attend gymnastics. That to me is amazing, and shows what an inspirational family they are and not just Gabby. Over the years she progressed so much, that Gabby and her mother had to make a tough decision, stay with her current gym or move to another so that Gabby could train with an elite coach Liang Chow. However, this would mean that Gabby would need to move to a different state from her family and her life.
At the age of 14 Gabby did in fact make the move, and found a host family to live with. This was a brave choice to make, but Gabby knew what she wanted to do, and that she had to make it to the Olympics. Gabby trusted her gut and decided to chase her dream, pretty brave for someone who was only 14. I’m such a homebody that even at the age of 25 I don’t think I could move far away from my home. There came a time prior to the Olympic trials, when Gabby doubted her self, she even contemplated quitting and moving back home. Gabby’s family and coach reminded her why she was there to begin with and gave her the courage to carry on. That turned out to be the best decision for Gabby as mentioned she went on to achieve such great accomplishments and surpass her own expectations!
Gabrielle inspires me because she is a shining example of where hard work can get you! Reading more about her and watching her story just made me appreciate the life of all of the athletes we see pursuing their dreams. I know it’s not all about the medals, but I honestly wish all of the Olympians could get one as you learn that they have been working towards that one moment for so many years. The dedication that Gabby, her family and her host parents showed is remarkable. Gabby will always be someone I look up to going forward, as I think she is a great role model, and as I said a wonderful young woman to watch and learn from. Gabby is still only 19 years old, and has not given up on going further with her career, and her life.
Gabby has earned a Team Gold at the 2011 World Championships, placed first at the 2012 Olympic Trials, 2012 Olympic Team Gold and the 2012 Women’s Gymnastics Olympic All-Around Title. Gabrielle also plans to compete in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I for one can’t wait to see her compete!
Thanks for reading everyone!