I could hardly celebrate strong women without featuring Gabby Douglas today. Just in case you have not heard the news, she is the USA Olympic Gymnast from Virginia Beach, VA, and yesterday she made history as the first African American to win a Gold Medal in the women’s gymnastics all around. In a report on USA Today online, Douglas was quoted as saying “Someone mentioned that I was the first black American (to win the all-around gold), and I said, ‘Oh yeah, I forgot about that!’ I feel so honored.”
Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts would be proud of her for saying that. He has been very vocal about his wish that color did not matter anymore. But that is a topic for another time.
Today, I want to celebrate Gabby for the magnificent performance on all the apparatus in the competition. To watch her fly on the parallel bars and soar on the vault was amazing, but the floor routine was a highlight for me. I wish I had taped it so I could watch it again. She managed to couple athleticism and grace and beauty in a way that took my breath away.
According to reports, balance beam has not been a favorite of hers, but she had no trouble with it on Thursday. Just look at that height, that perfect form. Wow!
|Photo courtesy of UPI|
|Photo courtesy of Hip Hop Wired|
Douglas took the gold with a score of 62.232, which makes her the fourth USA Olympic women’s all-around champion in history. Douglas, who is only 16, is also the second U.S. woman to win multiple gold medals at an Olympics in 16 years. U.S. gymnast Shannon Miller achieved that feat in 1996.
Douglas also became the fourth U.S. gymnast to capture the coveted all-around title, following the success of Mary Lou Retton, Carly Patterson and Nastia Liukin. The vivacious young gymnast also became the first American to win the team gold and the all-around gold in the same Olympics.
Wow, amazing amazing accomplishments for the girl who has sacrificed so much for a sport she loves. Kudos to her and to her family for coming so far.
|Gabby with her mother, Natalie Hawkins (R) and host “Mom”, Missy Parton.|
To read about Gabby’s incredible journey from her first taste of gymnastics to now, visit her website