Gabby Douglas: The First African American Female Gymnast

1246 words - 5 pages

Gabby Douglas was the first African-American female gymnast in Olympic history to become the individual All-Around champion. In the 2012 Olympic Games, she won gold in the team competition and the individual competition. She is a gymnastics phenom. From the beginning of her career to where she is today, she has been a true trooper through everything. Gabrielle Douglas is an inspiration to me and many others because she overcame being homeless,moved in with a new family, and won Olympic gold in gymnastics.
On December 31, 1995, Gabrielle Christina Victoria Douglas also known as "Flying Squirrel", was born in Virginia Beach, Virginia (Douglas, Gabrielle). Her dad, Timothy Douglas and mom, Natalie Hawkins were experienced parents because they had two children before Gabby. Jonathan and Joyelle, her brother and sister, we're very close with Gabby as was Gabby with them. Gabbys family was very poor when she was born. They had no where to go but to live in a van (Neporent, Liz). While her family lived in the van there was not enough money to send her back for her infant check up. She was diagnosed with Branched Chain Ketoaciduria, a rare blood disease in infants who can't process certain proteins (Fraser, Allen). Gabby became very small and her mom thought she was going to die. Eventually, a family friend of the Douglas helped pay for a doctors visit (Douglas, Gabrielle). Gabbys relatives took the Douglas's in (Neporent, Liz). Timothy Douglas abounded the family soon after this because he found a job away from home (Neporent, Liz). Her sister Arielle introduced Gabby to tumbling and gymnastics through a cartwheel (Gabby Douglas). When all of Gabby's family had just enough of bouncing around on the couches and flipping the vases, Arielle was finally able to convince her mom to allow Gabby to begin taking gymnastics classes at the local gym, Excalibur (Gabby Douglas). Excalibur was a horrifying experience for Gabby. There, she was taunted. The other girls told her to get a nose job, and also called her there slave. Excalibur denied any of the accusations about Gabby being taunted (Neporent, Liz).
Gabby changed gyms and soon became the state champ in 2004 after only four years of formal training (Gabby Douglas). She continually won first at all of the meets (Gabby Douglas).Gabby’s mom noticed that her talent was becoming too much for the gym she was training at. After watching Shawn Johnson at the 2008 Olympics and being compared to Dominique Dawes, one of the greatest African American gymnast, she knew that the Olympics were a perfect fit for her (Schoeller, Martin). The only issue she had with getting to the Olympics was her current coaching. She needed to go to West Des Moines, Iowa to train Liang Chow. He is an elite gymnastics coach known for coaching Shaun Johnson and many other gymnastics icons. With Chow, Gabby could master the necessary skills to be able to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games. Gabby left her home at age 14. Her mom flew...

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