Gabby Douglas, the 16-year-old American artistic gymnast nicknamed the “Flying Squirrel,” earned her second gold medal during the 2012 London Olympics Thursday (Jul 2) … and made history all at the same damn time.
After winning the Women’s Individual All-Around final on Day 6 of the London Games, Gabrielle “Gabby” Douglas became the first African-American Olympic (male or female) to do so, and also became the fourth American woman and fourth consecutive American to win the all-around, after Mary Lou Retton in 1984, Carly Patterson in 2004 and Nastia Liukin in 2008.
Gabby finished with a score of 62.232, less than three-tenths ahead of Russia’s Viktoria Komova, who reluctantly took the silver. Aliya Mustafina, also from Russia, won the bronze.
Douglas’ energetic floor routine brought the house down, and her U.S. teammates Jordyn Wieber, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, and Kyla Ross excitedly jumped to their feet and cheered when she finished.
After sticking her landing perfectly, Gabby flashed a bright smile, and her coach, Lian Chow, lifted her off the podium before giving her a big hug.
Gabby Douglas left her family behind in Virginia Beach, when she was just 14 years old, to move to Iowa to train with coach Chow (who had coached the Olympic champion Shawn Johnson). And even though that big move was hard for her and her family, the two gold medals Gabby has earned so far proves that it was all worth it.
Douglas earned her first gold medal with the U.S. gymnastics team two nights ago at the London Games, alongside her teammates, who won the team all-around gold medal.
Gabby is also the first American female to win both the team and individual all-around competitions at an Olympics. She’s scheduled to take part in the finals of uneven bars next Monday (Aug 6) and the balance beam the following Tuesday (Aug 7).