Found August 03, 2012 on Fox Sports:
Too excited to sleep and too early to wander the Olympic village, Gabby Douglas messaged her family and asked if they could have a video chat. When her mom turned on the computer, there sat her daughter, eyes wide, hands on her cheeks, mouth agape. ''It reminded me of Macaulay Culkin in `Home Alone,''' said Natalie Hawkins, Douglas' mother. And this was before the 16-year-old Olympic all-around champion got her own cereal box cover, hobnobbed with Matt, Al and others at NBC's ''Today'' show, and had tweet-happy celebrities eager to be her new BFFs. ''It's pretty exciting,'' Douglas said Friday. ''It really hasn't hit me yet.'' Apparently not. She forgot to bring her gold medal with her for the rounds of meet and greet. Hang on, kid, this is only the warm-up. The Olympic all-around title is gymnastics' biggest prize, and it can turn a sprite into an international superstar overnight. The world is still on a first-name basis with Nadia and Mary Lou, and Gabby could wind up being bigger than both of them. Adults want to hug her, and little girls shriek at the sight of her. Her smile alone is enough to dazzle Madison Avenue, and her personality gives new meaning to the word ''outsized.'' Not only is she the first African-American gymnast to win the all-around title, she's the first to win any individual gold in gymnastics. Throw in her adorable ''Flying Squirrel'' nickname, and the back story of leaving home at 14 to pursue an Olympic dream and, guaranteed, her life will never be the same. ''Oh my gosh, yes,'' said Mary Lou Retton, whose all-around title in 1984 was the first by a US woman. ''She won't know until she goes home.'' Those around her, though, are already getting a taste of things to come. Seconds after Douglas beat Viktoria Komova on Thursday night, talk show hosts David Letterman and Jay Leno had already contacted her agent, Sheryl Shade. Considering Oprah Winfrey tweeted her congratulations, it's a safe bet she wants to have a chat with Douglas, too. Kellogg's worked overtime to get her picture on the cover of a Corn Flakes box -- not just any picture, mind you, but a photo of her on the medals stand. ''It's definitely an amazing experience,'' Douglas said. Especially considering she wasn't even in the conversation for the all-around title at the start of the year, and that she only turned pro in March after upstaging world champion Jordyn Wieber at the American Cup in New York. By midmorning Friday, Shade had already received more than 750 emails, some simply congratulating Douglas, most from folks who wanted a piece of her -- businesses, talk shows, magazines. And not just in the United States, either. ''It's the whole package,'' said Shade, referring to Douglas' appeal. ''It's her personality. It's her freshness. She's not been packaged.'' Douglas is well aware her title carries weight beyond her sport: ''I'm the first African-American to win the all-around, my name's in the history books,'' she said Friday. And she's eager to embrace the responsibility. She wants to be a role model, particularly for minority children, and Shade said they've already talked to Kellogg's about an outreach program. They've also been in contact with first lady Michelle Obama's ''Let's Move!'' campaign, aimed at tackling childhood obesity and promoting sports. ''She's going to break barriers on so many different levels,'' Retton said. While Shade said it's too early to estimate Douglas' earning power -- she has another gold from team competition -- it's safe to say it's well into the millions. Pretty heady stuff for Douglas and her family. ''I don't think you can prepare for that. I just try to lean on the morals and values that my parents taught me and the morals and values I taught them,'' Hawkins said, referring to Douglas and her three older siblings. ''We're a very grounded family. We're very friendly, affable people. We just love to enjoy other people, and this just opens up opportunities to meet more amazing people.'' There are downsides to fame, too, and Douglas quickly got a taste of it. The Internet was abuzz over criticism of her hair -- it wasn't styled to everyone's liking -- a topic she simply laughed off. ''I thought it was kind of bizarre,'' she said. And forget about being able to go anywhere without being recognized. ''I'm definitely not going to escape it -- unless I wear a disguise,'' she said, brightening to the idea. ''A mustache. A wig, maybe.'' But that's a worry for another day. Now is the time to celebrate her success, and savor all the trappings. Douglas admitted one of the first things she did when she got up was Google herself. She loved scanning all the photos. Even better was scrolling through her Twitter feeds, and noting how many celebrities sent congratulations: NFL quarterback Michael Vick; Oscar winner Octavia Spencer; rapper Timbaland; actresses Gabrielle Union and Elizabeth Banks; singer Ciara; Mr. Summer Games himself, Michael Phelps; her celebrity crush, Ian Somerhalder from ''The Vampire Diaries.'' She even sparked a tiny Twitter spat when Nicki Minaj thought Douglas responded to fellow rapper Lil Wayne but dissed her. ''Oh wow, I tweeted about #Gabby earlier but she responds to (Lil Wayne) and not me? U know what? Ima fight u. I've had it!!!'' Minaj tweeted. ''I tried to find her, I promise!'' Douglas said with a laugh, adding that Minaj's tweet was actually one of her favorites. ''She said I was a little firecracker.'' As for what's next, Douglas will compete in the finals for uneven bars Monday and balance beam Tuesday, and insists she plans to compete through the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. Of course, she may feel differently when she considers the avalanche of invitations sure to come for appearances, commercials and star-studded events like the Oscars and Grammys. Gymnasts Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson, who finished 1-2 in Beijing, discovered the demands of elite-level gymnastics aren't always compatible with once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. ''This is the time to take those opportunities and live it up. But the Olympic level of gymnastics is very short-lived,'' Liukin said. ''It's very hard to balance.'' But Douglas is only 16 -- she turns 17 on Dec. 31 -- and the prospect of becoming the first all-around champion to defend her title since Nadia Comaneci in 1980 might be enough to entice her to stick around. ''I don't think I'm going to retire just yet,'' she said. ''People tell me I'm too young, I should stick with it.'' Meanwhile, she's out to find Usain Bolt and Venus and Serena Williams . There's also that trip back to her hometown of Virginia Beach, Va., that she can't wait to take. Douglas hasn't been home since moving to West Des Moines, Iowa, almost two years ago, and she's craving her favorite popcorn from Jody's -- ''It's like a Willy Wonka store.'' She wants to see her dogs and sleep in her old bed, too. It's all very normal for a girl whose life will now be anything but. ''You have to cherish these moments,'' Douglas said. ''It's definitely amazing.''

Gabby Douglas almost quit gymnastics months before Olympics

What would you say if I told you that the best female gymnast in the world nearly quit the sport a few months ago? It would be hard to believe, right? But that’s actually what happened with Gabby Douglas. Douglas, who won the gold medal in the women’s all-around gymnastics competition at the Olympics on Thursday, had some struggles before making the Olympic team. The 16-year...

Gabby Douglas confused over hair comments

Women's gymnastics all-around champion Gabby Douglas likes her hairstyle just fine, thanks. The 16-year-old said Sunday she was a little confused when she logged onto her computer after winning her second gold medal in three days and discovered people were debating her pulled-back look. ''I don't know where this is coming from. What's wrong with my hair?'...

Douglas' mom filed for bankruptcy

Court records show that the mother of Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas filed for bankruptcy earlier this year in Virginia. Documents filed in January in the Eastern District of Virginia show Natalie Hawkins filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which allows a person to reorganize their finances and pay down debt over several years. The documents list Hawkins as having assets totaling ...

Douglas confused over hair comments

Women's gymnastics all-around champion Gabby Douglas likes her hairstyle just fine, thanks. The 16-year-old said Sunday she was a little confused when she logged onto her computer after winning her second gold medal in three days and discovered people were debating her pulled-back look. ''I don't know where this is coming from. What's wrong with my hair?'...

Column: What kind of mom does a thing like that?

Hold up the gold medal, tell Gabby Douglas' story to a roomful of parents with kids competing almost anywhere, and five minutes later, there will be nods all around. Five minutes after that, there won't be a dry eye in the place. It begins with Natalie Hawkins, a single mother of four, determined to find her daughter the best coach she could, then delivering 14-year-old...

USA’s Gabby Douglas takes Gold in Women’s all-around

USA Gymnast Gabby Douglas made history Thursday, winning the most coveted prize of all, Olympic gold. Gabby Douglas is only 16-years old, becoming the first African-American to win the women’s all-around title! Congrats Gabby! She led from the start, finishing with with 62.232 points and topping Russia’s Victoria Komova who had 61.973. . Russia’s Aliya Mustafina took the bronze...

NBC apologizes for airing ill-timed commercial of monkey on the rings after Gabby Douglas’ win (Video)

NBC apologized for the timing of one of its commercials that featured a monkey on the Olympic rings. The commercial was promoting NBC’s upcoming sitcom “Animal Practice” and it aired immediately after Bob Costas discussed Gabby Douglas’ gold-medal winning effort in the women’s all-around gymnastics. You can see the awkward segue below: The poorly-timed commercial received...

Olympic Gold: Gabby Douglas' moment to remember

AP photographer Gregory Bull knew it would come - the moment when Gabby Douglas does that little bit extra. Her leap, high above the beam, in the women's all-round individual gymnastics competition on Thursday is one of the iconic shots of the London Games. ''I know there is that one moment where she jumps higher and stretches further back than everyone else,'&...

Golden Girl: Gabby Douglas Wins All-Around Gold

American gymnast Gabby Douglas won the women's all-around gold today in London and becomes the third straight American to win the gold. Douglas' gold medal in the all-around is the second of her Olympics thus far, she won gold when the Americans won the team competition two nights ago. Known as "The Flying Squirrel", Douglas finished with a score of 62.232, just...

Olympics: London Surpasses Salt Lake City As Highest Rated Olympics Since Atlanta

Not since Gabby Douglas was six months old has any Olympics been as big of a ratings draw as the 2012 London Games. Tape delayed primetime coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympics earned 21.1 final rating and 36.8 million viewers on NBC Thursday night, up 18% in ratings and 24% in viewership from Beijing in 2008 (17.9, 29.708M), and up 9% and 16%, respectively, from Athens in 2004 (19...

Gold medal winner Gabby Douglas to grace Kellogg’s Corn Flakes’ box

Go GABBY, GO!! Gabrielle Douglas also known affectionately as “The Flying Squirrel won her first Gold medal Thursday night in the all-around Gymnastic category. Next up for Gabby? The cover of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes! As the first African-American woman to win the Gold in the all-around, I imagine we’ll be seeing Gabby EVERYWHERE soon!   [...]

US gymnasts may share spotlight in event finals

Gabby Douglas and the rest of the Fierce Five might have to learn how to share. After hogging the gymnastics golds to themselves so far, the Americans will find their prospects a little tougher when the event finals start Sunday. Sure, McKayla Maroney is considered a shoo-in on vault, with the gap between her and everyone else so great it's a wonder they haven't already...
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