Study Guide

Gabby Douglas (Grace, Gold and Glory) in Olympics Books

By Various Authors

Gabby Douglas (Grace, Gold and Glory)

The Flying Squirrel

Little Gabby is so sweet; she'll give you cavities. And it feels weird using such diminutive descriptors for her…because she may be short, but in the world of Olympians she's a giant.

Like most natural, gifted athletes, Gabby doesn't think it's strange that she can do flips on a balance beam or fling herself to terrifying heights over the high bars. Apparently, she'd been launching herself off and over furniture since she was a small tyke; scaring her mother and destroying said furniture in the process.

In fact, the whole reason her mother scraped the cash together to pay for gymnastics lessons was to find some way to expel her abundant energy. She's filled with this buoyant, joyous optimism that just seems to bubble over uncontrollably, giving lightness to her movements as she handsprings across the mat. Even when she falls, she can't help but let out a giggle, and then she gets back up and tries again.

And her autobiography reads the same way.

Together with her family, she overcame periodic homelessness, financial hardships, the separation of her parents, the reappearance of their deadbeat Dad…not to mention the endless trials and tribulations that most children suffer (the death of their pet bunny Midnight being one such bummer).

No Dad? That's Okay, She's Got The Father

And Gabrielle seems especially boosted by religious beliefs. She attributes the good and the bad, to God—she feels sure that everything happens for a reason. Throughout Grace, Gold and Glory she quotes from the New King James Version of the Bible, and the scripture seems to truly give her comfort and hope.

Whatever it is that allows Gabby to fly, it's given her the talent and dedication to become one of the greatest Olympic gymnasts to ever represent our country. At the 2012 London Summer Olympics she was the first woman of color (of any nationality) and the first African-American gymnast in Olympic history to become the Individual All-Around Champion.


She's also the first American gymnast to win gold in both the gymnastic individual all-around and team competitions at the same Olympic games. Not too shabby.

So, as a young girl she was told she could be the next Dominique Dawes (a ground-breaking African-American gold medal gymnast), but we think she might just outshine even the Awesome Dawesome.