Gabby Douglas

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Gabrielle Douglas
— Gymnast —
Douglas throwing out the first pitch at Citi Field, August 2012
Personal information
Full name Gabrielle Christina Victoria Douglas
Nickname(s) Flying Squirrel
Country represented United States
Born (1995-12-31) December 31, 1995 (age 19)
Newport News, Virginia
Residence Tarzana, California
Height 5 ft 2.5 in (1.588 m)[1]
Discipline Women's artistic gymnastics
Level Senior International Elite
Years on national team 2008–2012, 2014–present (US)
Gym Buckeye Gymnastics
Head coach(es) Kittia Carpenter
Former coach(es) Dena Walker, Gustavo Moure, Liang Chow
Music Here

Gabrielle Christina Victoria "Gabby" Douglas[2] (born December 31, 1995)[3] 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 African American woman in Olympic history to become the individual all-around champion,[4][5] 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 and the 2015 World Championships[6] and the silver medalist in the all-around at the 2015 World Championships,[7] making her the first female reigning Olympic all-around champion to return to worlds and medal in the all-around since Elena Davydova in 1981.

Early life[edit]

Douglas was born in Newport News, Virginia, to parents Timothy Douglas and Natalie Hawkins.[8] She has three siblings.[9] She began training in gymnastics at age three when her older sister convinced their mother to enroll her in gymnastics classes.[10] In October 2002, Douglas began her training at Gymert.[11]

At the age of eight, Douglas won the Level 4 all-around gymnastics title at the 2004 Virginia State Championships.[12][13]

At 14, Gabby moved to Des Moines, Iowa to train full-time with coach Liang Chow. Because her family had to stay in Virginia while her siblings finished school, Gabby lived with Travis and Missy Parton and their four daughters, one of whom also trained at Chow's gym.[14]

Douglas is a Christian; she said, "I believe in God. He is the secret of my success. He gives people talent",[15] 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."[16]

Junior career[edit]


Douglas 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 16th in that competition, Douglas was not eligible for the 2008 Junior Women's National Team.[17]


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 Austin, Texas, Douglas was unable to perform her full routines and competed only on balance beam and floor exercise.[17]


Douglas competed at the 2010 Nastia Liukin Supergirl Cup, a televised Level 10 meet held in Worcester, Massachusetts, where Douglas placed fourth all-around.[3]

Her first elite meet was the 2010 Cover Girl Classic in Chicago, Illinois, where Douglas placed third on balance beam, 6th on vault, and 9th all-around in the junior division.[3]

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.[3]

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.[3]

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.[9][18][19] 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."[11] The impetus for Douglas's move to Iowa was when Walker had invited Chow to teach a clinic at her gym, Excalibur.[11] Douglas was impressed when Chow was able to teach her how to perform the Amanar vault in a single afternoon.[4] 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.[20] Chow was initially skeptical, since Douglas had been just one of hundreds of kids at the clinic in Virginia Beach.[11] 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.[20]

Senior career[edit]


At the City of Jesolo Trophy in Italy, Gabby 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.[3]

Douglas earned the silver medal in uneven bars at the CoverGirl Classic in Chicago.[3]

At the 2011 U.S. National Championships in St. Paul, Minnesota, Douglas tied for third on bars and placed seventh all-around.[3]

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.[21][22]


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.[23]

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.[23][24]

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.[25][26][27]

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.

Summer Olympics[edit]

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.[28][29] 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.[5][30][31][32] She is also the first American gymnast ever to win both the team and individual all-around gold at the same Olympics.[33] Douglas finished eighth in uneven bars,[34][35] and seventh in balance beam.[36] 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.[37]


In August 2013, Douglas moved to Los Angeles to be with her family. Although she was no longer training with Chow, she said that she was still preparing to compete in the 2016 Olympics.[38]

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 was to have trained alongside national team member Rachel Gowey (Sr.) and promising junior Norah Flatley, who many consider similar to both Gabby and Shawn in performance style.[39]

In mid-July, it was announced that Douglas had once again left Chow's Gymnastics & Dance Institute.[40] 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 would 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."[41]

After participating in several national team camps in 2014, on November 25, 2014, Douglas was added back to the U.S. national team, along with Olympic teammate Aly Raisman and former Chow's Gymnastics teammate Rachel Gowey.[42]


In March 2015, Douglas returned to international competition at the 2015 City of Jesolo Trophy in Jesolo, Italy. Douglas helped the USA win gold in the team competition and also placed 4th all-around behind defending World Champion, Simone Biles, newcomer Bailie Key and Olympic teammate Aly Raisman.

In July, Douglas competed at the U.S. Classic and finished second in the all-around behind 2-time World All-Around Champion Simone Biles and ahead of Maggie Nichols with a score of 60.500. She had a consistent night hitting clean routines. She placed second on uneven bars behind Madison Kocian and ahead of Bailie Key with a score of 15.400, third on balance beam behind Biles and Olympic teammate Aly Raisman with a score of 14.900, and second on floor exercise behind Biles and ahead of Key and Nichols with a score of 15.000.[43]

On August 13 & 15, Douglas competed at the P&G Championships Indianapolis, Indiana where she placed 5th overall with a score of 117.950, placing behind Simone Biles, Maggie Nichols, Aly Raisman, and Bailie Key.

Douglas started Night 1 on vault and despite a hop backwards on her double-twisting Yurchenko vault, she scored a 15.150. On bars, she had a high-flying piked Tkachev connected to her Pak Salto and had an excellent landing on her double layout dismount. She scored a 15.300 on bars. On beam she had a shaky routine with balance checks but did score a 14.450. On floor she had bad wobbles on her double Y-turn and her double turn with leg at horizontal (then didn't connect to her single turn with leg at horizontal). She had low landings and almost fell on her tucked full-in and scored a 13.850 to end Night 1 in 3rd with a total all-around score of 58.700.

On Night 2, Douglas started on bars where she excelled once again on her inbar-stalder pirouettes and her piked Tkachev-Pak Salto connection but she took a large step forward on her double layout dismount and almost fell. She scored a 15.100. Her total bars score of 30.400 placed her 4th on the event behind Madison Kocian, Ashton Locklear and Key (by 0.100). On beam she had a shaky routine and had a good number of balance checks and lost some connections. She had a hop and a low landing on her double pike dismount where she scored a 14.200, totaling her score to 28.650 placed her 9th on the event, 0.050 behimd Raisman and Mykayla Skinner. On floor she improved her turns and connections and had better landings on her tumbling passes. She scored a 14.800 and totaled her score to 28.650, placing her 6th on the event.

Douglas was named to the Senior National Team for the first time since 2012 and received an invite to the 2015 Worlds Selection Camp in September. On October 8, 2015 it was announced that Douglas had been selected as a member of the 2015 US Women's World Championship team.[44]

At the 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, Douglas shared in the team gold medal won by the U.S.[6] She also qualified for the individual all-around in 3rd place, and to the uneven bars final in 6th place.[45] Douglas became the first reigning Olympic all-around champion since 1981 to return to the sport and win a world championships medal.

On November 13, 2015, The Columbus Dispatch revealed that Douglas would participate in the 2016 AT&T American Cup, in Newark, New Jersey.[46]

Awards and honors[edit]

In December 2012, the Associated Press named Douglas the Female Athlete of the Year. She became the fourth gymnast to receive the honor.[47]

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 the media[edit]

In July 2012, Douglas and her teammates were featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated Olympic Preview issue, the first time an entire Olympic gymnastics team had been featured on the cover of the magazine.[48] On July 20, Douglas was on one of five Time magazine Olympic covers.[49]

On August 3, the Kellogg Company announced that it would put a picture of Douglas standing on the podium with her gold medal on special-edition boxes of corn flakes, breaking the tradition of Olympic athletes appearing on Wheaties boxes.[50]

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.[51] The CEO of Excalibur Gymnastics, Gustavo Maure, denied these claims.[52]

In September 2012, Nintendo announced that Douglas would be part of a new ad campaign for New Super Mario Bros. 2.[53] On September 4, Douglas led the Pledge of Allegiance at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.[54]

In December 2012, Douglas released her autobiography, Grace, Gold, and Glory: My Leap of Faith.[55] The book debuted at number four on The New York Times Young Adult Bestseller List.[56]

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.[citation needed]

"The Gabby Douglas Story" aired on Lifetime February 1, 2014[57] starring Imani Hakim in which Douglas performed all the gymnastic stunts herself.[58]

Floor music selections[edit]

2007–08: "Hora Presta" by Gilles Apap & the Transylvanian Mountain Boys
2011: "Memories (Fuck Me I'm Famous remix)" & "We No Speak Americano"
2012: "Bon Bon" by Pitbull, DJ Alvaro mix of "We No Speak Americano" by Yolanda Be Cool and DCUP.
2015: "Dare (La La La)" by Shakira


Competitive history[edit]

Year Event Team AA VT UB BB 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
2015 City of Jesolo Trophy 1st 4th
Secret U.S. Classic 2nd 2nd 3rd 2nd
P&G Championships 5th 4th 9th 6th
World Championships 1st 2nd

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Woods, David. "Is Gabby Douglas too old for Olympics at 19? 'Like, huh?'". August 12, 2015. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
  2. ^ "Gabby Douglas". Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Gabrielle Douglas Bio – USA Gymnastics". Retrieved October 8, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Macur, Juliet (August 2, 2012). "A Very Long Journey Was Very Swift". The New York Times. Retrieved August 4, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Corneau, Allison (August 2, 2012). "Gabby Douglas Wins Gold in Women's All-Around Olympic Gymnastics". Us Weekly. 
  6. ^ a b "US women roll to 3rd straight world gymnastics title". Houston Chronicle. 
  7. ^ "Simone Biles wins 3rd straight world gymnastics championship". Yahoo News. October 29, 2015. 
  8. ^ Pucin, Diane (June 18, 2012). "Gymnast Gabrielle Douglas adjusts well to spring to the top". Los Angeles Times. 
  9. ^ a b Suhay, Lisa (July 30, 2012). "Olympic women's gymnastics: Gabby Douglas and parenting gold". Christian Science Monitor. 
  10. ^ Emmert, Mark (July 2, 2012). "Assist from sister sends Gabby Douglas to London". USA Today. 
  11. ^ a b c d Emmert, Mark (July 27, 2012). "2012 Olympics: Gabby Douglas' former coach still feels sting". Des Moines Register. Retrieved August 4, 2012. 
  12. ^ Luca, Olivia (July 7, 2012). "From her living room to London: Gabby Douglas strives for success at Olympics". San Jose Mercury News. 
  13. ^ "Gabby Douglas". Retrieved August 6, 2012. [dead link]
  14. ^ ABC News. "Gabby Douglas' 2 Mothers Watch Her Make History". ABC News. 
  15. ^ "Gabrielle Douglas". 
  16. ^ "Olympic Gymnast Gabrielle Douglas Says Faith Is Her Foundation". 
  17. ^ a b Douglas, Gabrielle and, Burford, Michelle (2012). Grace, Gold, and Glory: My Leap of Faith. New York: Harper Collins. pp. 92, 93. ISBN 0310740614. 
  18. ^ Emmert, Mark (July 15, 2012). "Gabby Douglas' West Des Moines family can't imagine life without Olympian". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved August 3, 2012. [dead link]
  19. ^ Taylor, Phil (August 2, 2012). "Life-changing victory for Douglas". ( Retrieved August 3, 2012. [dead link]
  20. ^ a b Robinson, Tom (March 29, 2012). "For gymnast, it's Olympic dreams and hard feelings". The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved August 4, 2012. 
  21. ^ "U.S. wins women's gymnastics title". UPI. October 11, 2011. 
  22. ^ Turner, Amanda (September 21, 2011). "Wieber Leads US Women's Team to Tokyo". InternationalGymnast. Retrieved September 23, 2011. 
  23. ^ a b "Gabby Douglas after Dominating the 2012 American Cup, Despite Being the Meet's Alternate". March 3, 2012. Retrieved March 5, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Pac Rim Championships – Senior Event Finals Results". March 18, 2012. Retrieved March 25, 2012. 
  25. ^ Florek, Michael (July 29, 2012). "10 things you may not know about US gymnast Gabby Douglas". USA TODAY. 
  26. ^ Pucin, Diane (July 2, 2012). "Gabrielle Douglas gets guaranteed spot on women's gymnastics team". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 27, 2012. 
  27. ^ "Flying Squirrel and Wieber Fever Meet in London". The New York Times. Reuters. July 27, 2012. Retrieved July 28, 2012. [dead link]
  28. ^ 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. 
  29. ^ Rexrode, Joe. "With Fab Five , U.S. gymnasts pick Fierce Five". August 9, 2012. Retrieved August 14, 2012.
  30. ^ 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 
  31. ^ Wolfe, Sarag (August 2, 2012). "US gymnast Gabby Douglas wins all-around gold medal". GlobalPost. 
  32. ^ Whiteside, Kelly (August 2, 2012). "USA's Gabby Douglas takes gold in women's all-around". USA Today. 
  33. ^ Clarke, Liz (August 2, 2012). "Gabby Douglas wins gold in women’s gymnastics all-around; Aly Raisman loses tie for bronze". The Washington Post. 
  34. ^ Rogers, Martin (August 6, 2012). "Gabby Douglas fails to repeat magic on bars but remains the darling of Olympic gymnastics". Retrieved August 6, 2012. 
  35. ^ "London 2012, Gymnastics Artistic, Women's Apparatus, Final – Uneven Bars" (PDF). August 6, 2012. 
  36. ^ Stiles, Adam (August 7, 2012). "2012 London Olympics: Gabby Douglas Falls Off Balance Beam In Final". Washington, DC: SB Nation. Retrieved August 7, 2012. 
  37. ^ "Protest, near perfection lift USA's Aly Raisman –". August 7, 2012. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  38. ^ Miller, Bryce (August 21, 2013). "Gabrielle Douglas no longer living, training in Iowa". Des Moines Register. [dead link]
  39. ^ "Gabby Douglas returns to Iowa to train for 2016 Olympics". theGrio. 
  40. ^ Bryce Miller, USA TODAY Sports (July 16, 2014). "Gymnast Gabby Douglas quits Iowa coach again". USA TODAY. 
  41. ^ Nancy Armour, USA TODAY Sports (August 1, 2014). "Olympian Gabby Douglas now training in Columbus, Ohio". USA TODAY. 
  42. ^ "USA Gymnastics - Final national team camp for 2014 wraps up today". USA Gymnastics. 
  43. ^ "2015 Secret U.S. Classic". July 25, 2015. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  44. ^ "USA Gymnastics announces 2015 U.S. Women's World Championships Team". USA Gymnastics. Retrieved 2015-10-18. 
  45. ^ "Apparatus Finalists at World Championships". Gymnastics 
  46. ^ Andrew Erickson. "Gymnastics - Gabby Douglas focuses on Rio after silver at worlds". The Columbus Dispatch. 
  47. ^ Armour, Nancy (December 21, 2012). "Gabby Douglas Wins AP Female Athlete Of The Year Honors". Huffington Post. Associated Press. Retrieved February 27, 2012. 
  48. ^ Emmert, Mark. "Gabby Douglas, gymnastics team make Sports Illustrated cover". Des Moines Register. Retrieved July 20, 2012. 
  49. ^ Florek, Michael (July 19, 2012). "Ryan Lochte, Gabby Douglas, Lolo Jones get TIME covers". USA Today. Retrieved July 20, 2012. 
  50. ^ Jiggetts, Lauren (August 3, 2012). "Gabby Douglas Gets Cereal Box Billing". NBC News. Retrieved August 8, 2012. 
  51. ^ Chen, Joyce (August 27, 2012). "Gabby Douglas to Oprah: I was 'bullied,' called 'slave' during early gymnastics training in Virginia". New York Daily News. 
  52. ^ 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. 
  53. ^ "Gabby Douglas Goes For Gold In New Super Mario Bros. 2 Ad" (YouTube). Nintendo. October 1, 2012. Retrieved October 5, 2012. 
  54. ^ "Gabby Douglas Leads the Pledge of Allegiance at the 2012 Democratic National Convention". CBS News. November 19, 2012. 
  55. ^ "Gabby Douglas to Publish Inspirational Memoir". People. September 6, 2012. 
  56. ^ Cowles, Gregory (December 23, 2012). "Best Sellers Young Adult". The New York Times. 
  57. ^ edwagreen (February 1, 2014). "The Gabby Douglas Story (TV Movie 2014)". IMDb. 
  58. ^ "The Gabby Douglas Story: Lifetime movie is all about the feel good". Channel Guide Magazine. 

External links[edit]