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Gabby Douglas (Grade 7)

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Gabby Douglas

"If you push through the hard days, then you can get through anything."

No one has proven that statement more than the woman who said it: Gabby Douglas.

At just 16, Douglas struck gold not once, but twice, at the 2012 London Olympic Games. She became the first African-American woman to win the gold medal in the individual gymnastics all-around competition, and she also won the gold for her anchoring of the women's gymnastics team's first place showing. Four years later she would repeat as a leader of the women's team when it also won the gold medal at the Rio Olympics.

Gabby got involved with gymnastics at the age of six in her hometown of Virginia Beach, Virginia. Showing promise, she left home at 14 to live with the prominent gymnastics coach Liang Chow and his family in Iowa. She gained national attention after this, particularly due to her skill on the parallel bars. Her ability to launch herself to extraordinary heights in this event earned her the nickname “the Flying Squirrel.”

It was during the years just prior to the 2012 Olympics that Douglas faced her greatest challenges. The training regimen required to reach a world-class competition can be grueling and can test the mettle of the most determined of athletes. Douglas says in her autobiography that her story is

“the story of how the people who love me the most literally lifted me up during the lowest moments of my journey... It’s a testimony of the one huge lesson that I’m still learning every day: With strong faith in God and some serious determination, every dream is possible…”

With the help of family, friends, and faith, Douglas persevered through the hard years of training, and showed how determination and grit pay off.
How many Olympic gold medals does Douglas have?

Why did Douglas leave home at 14 and travel far away to live with another family in Iowa?

Why is Douglas known as "the Flying Squirrel"?

What does the word "mettle" mean in this context, and why do you think the author chose to use that word in this article?

What do you think Douglas means when she says "If you push through the hard days, then you can get through anything."

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