How often are girls told that you can’t be sporty and be gracious and girly at the same time? How often are girls with more muscles looked at weirdly? I have friends who stopped the sports they loved because they shoulders were getting broad or their thighs too big. To be honest for someone who has always loved her sport and learned a lot of things from it, especially how to be confident, I find these things irritating and frustrating. Because of that I wanted to chose a #GirlBoss who is also a kickass athlete. That’s why I chose Gabby Douglas. She is an American gymnast and she was at 16 the first African- American woman and the first woman of colour of any nationality to win an individual all-around gold medal. Besides that she is also the first American woman ever to win the individual and the team competition in the same Olympics. This is all incredible. Also she wants to be the first American to defend her title in the upcoming Olympics in Rio. Now some may say that gymnastics isn’t a real sport, but if you do please imagine me raising my eyebrows now. According to totalsportsek.com it is the 4th most challenging sport in the world and they describe it as follows: ” Gymnastics has many forms when it comes to Olympic games and all of them require greater physical fitness and reflexes combine with balance and mental strength like focus to endure difficult body maneuver with grace and control.” So yeah it is a real sport and it is demanding and it looks pretty badass as well.
So back to Gabby. She was pretty much raised by a single mum and she was the youngest of four siblings. There was never a lot of money around, so Gabby couldn’t start formal training until she was 6 years old, which for gymnastics, is quite old to start. But up until that moment, her sister who had previously done gymnastics had taught Gabby everything she knew and little Gabby went even further and taught herself how to do one handed cartwheels.
She started competing and did well in competitions all over the country. At age 15, she decided that she wanted to train under the coach Liang Chow, who had trained previous Olympic Champion Shawn Johnson. This swapping of trainers required her to move away from her family in Virginia Beach, Virginia to West Des Moines, Iowa and to live with a host family as it was not possible for her family to move with her.
From there on she took part in many and various competitions all leading up to the Olympics 2012 in London, where she broke many records when being only 16 years old. Now with the ones in Rio coming up she is going to be someone everyone else has to look out for.
My reason for picking Gabby was initially that I wanted someone who is sporty and while researching I fell in love with her story. She shows that your biggest dreams come true, but her story also shows that it won’t happen when you sit in your room waiting and hoping that something will happen. She shows us that you have to work for your dream and that talent alone is simply not enough for you to reach your dream. Her moving away from her family, who mean the world to her, to chase her dream also shows that sometimes to reach our goals we have to make hard decisions, but yeah nothing in life comes easy and if you really want something you have to fight for it.
If you want to know more details about her here is the link to her website and check out the film about her on netflix, which I found while doing my research and absolutely loved. One thing I took away from the film was the fact that her family had a vision/dream board at home, making their hopes and dreams visual and I have started to create my own. Writing down or visualising your dreams somehow gives you the power to believe that it can come true and seeing it every day makes you want to work for it.
So what I hope that you take away from this and Gabby’s story is: Screw people saying you can’t reach your goal, screw people who say you shouldn’t do sports because it is not feminine enough and screw being scared to take a chance. Go for whatever you want and do the very best you can. Surround yourself by people who support you and believe in you and the journey won’t feel as bad.
Lots of love,
Gabby’s beam Routine at the AT&T American Cup 2016: Video
Uneven Bars: Video
Gabby Douglas Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gabbycvdouglas/?hl=en
Gabby Douglas Twitter: https://twitter.com/gabrielledoug?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor