7 Things to Know About Olympic Gymnast Gabby Douglas

Learn more about this famous U.S. gymnast

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Deusen, Amy Van. "7 Things to Know About Olympic Gymnast Gabby Douglas." ThoughtCo, Sep. 12, 2017, thoughtco.com/gymnast-gabby-douglas-1714662. Deusen, Amy Van. (2017, September 12). 7 Things to Know About Olympic Gymnast Gabby Douglas. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/gymnast-gabby-douglas-1714662 Deusen, Amy Van. "7 Things to Know About Olympic Gymnast Gabby Douglas." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/gymnast-gabby-douglas-1714662 (accessed September 25, 2017).
Photo of Gabrielle (Gabby) Douglas from the 2011 worlds in Tokyo
Gabrielle Douglas at 2011 worlds. Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Whether you are a fan of the Olympics or of gymnastics, it's hard not to know the name of gymnast legend Gabrielle Douglas. 

Gabrielle Douglas was a member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic gymnastics team—a squad known as the Fierce Five that won the Olympic gold medal for the first time since 1996.

Douglas also earned gold in the all-around, becoming the first gymnast in American history to win the gold medal in both the team and all-around.

After some time off after the Olympics, in the spring of 2014, Douglas began to train for a competitive comeback.

She was also the first black gymnast to win the Olympic all-around title. 

Gabby Douglas has made a name for herself — but even her biggest fans might not know everything about her. We decided to dig a little deeper. Here are seven fun facts about Douglas.  

1. She was a junior talent and then trained alongside an Olympic champion.

Douglas qualified for the 2010 junior U.S. Championships and placed a very impressive fourth all-around at nationals that year. She was named to the 2010 Pan American Championships team, where she took first on bars and helped the USA win the team competition.

After her early success as an elite, Douglas decided to switch coaches. She met Liang Chow, coach of 2008 Olympian Shawn Johnson, at a coaching clinic and moved to Iowa to work with him at his gym, Chow's Gymnastics and Dance.

She trained alongside Johnson until Johnson's retirement from the sport in June of 2012.

2. She was the youngest gymnast in the competition at her first worlds.

Though originally the alternate to the world team, Douglas ended up on the roster after an abdominal injury sidelined team member Anna Li.

At age 15, Douglas was the youngest gymnast in the meet but excelled at her first worlds.

She competed in all four events in prelims and ended up fifth all-around after the competition was over. Unfortunately, due to the two-per-country rule, only two U.S. gymnasts could advance to the all-around finals. American teammates Jordyn Wieber and Aly Raisman ranked higher (second and fourth, respectively).

Douglas did qualify to the bars finals, however, and placed fifth, even with an error. (Watch her bar routine here.)

3. She had a break-out meet at the 2012 American Cup — and then won the Olympic Trials.

In 2012, Douglas had a huge performance at the American Cup in March. She competed as the U.S. team alternate, so her scores didn't officially count, but she ended up with the highest total of the day. Had she been an "official" competitor, she would have beaten world all-around gold medalist Wieber.

Then Douglas edged Wieber for the overall title at the 2012 Olympic Trials, finishing just 0.1 ahead of her after the two-day competition. Douglas, therefore, earned the single automatic berth onto the Olympic team (though she would have undoubtedly been selected onto the team anyway). Beating Wieber also showed that she was a legitimate contender for the Olympic all-around title.

4. She was the star of the 2012 Olympics.

Douglas was the unofficial MVP of team USA at the London Games. She performed so well in prelims that she qualified to the individual all-around, bars and beam finals. She competed in all four events for the U.S. in the team finals and amassed an enormous 61.465 total all-around score. She was a huge part of team USA's gold medal victory.

In the all-around final, Douglas topped even her all-around score from team finals, earning a 62.232 and winning the all-around gold medal. Douglas had two more chances to medal in the event finals of bars and of beam, but she finished eighth and seventh, respectively.

5. She helped Team USA win its third consecutive team title. 

After some time off after London, Douglas announced she'd be returning to training in April of 2014 with the goal of competing at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

She competed in her first world championships since 2011 in October of 2015 and earned an impressive second place all-around behind three-time world champ (and U.S. teammate) Simone Biles. She also helped the U.S. team win its third consecutive team title.

In the 2016 Olympics, Douglas was part of the so-called Final Five, which won gold in team. This was the second consecutive gold medal for the U.S. team.

In addition, Douglas and Biles are the only two U.S. all-around champs to earn multiple golds in the same Olympics.

6. She's got some pretty amazing skills. 

Douglas competes for a sky-high piked reverse hecht (at 0:59) on the bars and a standing back full on beam. She also did an Amanar vault, which she's hoping to regain by Rio.

7. She likes floor and beam—and knitting.

Douglas names floor and beam as her favorite events. Douglas enjoys reading and knitting in her free time. One more fun fact: She has two nicknames: Gabby and (the less commonly known) Brie.

Douglas' Gymnastics Results

International:

  • 2016 Olympic Games: 1st team; 2nd bars
  • 2015 world championships: 1st team; 2nd all-around; 5th bars
  • 2015 City of Jesolo Trophy: 1st team; 4th all-around
  • 2012 Olympic Games: 1st team; 1st all-around; 8th bars; 7th beam
  • 2012 Pacific Rim Championships: 1st team; 1st bars
  • 2011 world championships: 1st team; 5th bars
  • 2011 City of Jesolo Trophy: 1st team; 4th all-around; 4th vault; 3rd beam (tie); 2nd floor
  • 2010 Pan American Championships: 1st team; 5th all-around; 1st bars

National:

  • 2016 Olympics: 1st team; 7th bars
  • 2016 P&G Championships: 4th all-around; 6th bars; 6th beam; 5th floor
  • 2015 P&G Championships: 5th all-around; 4th bars; 6th floor
  • 2015 Secret U.S. Classic: 2nd all-around; 2nd bars; 3rd beam; 2nd floor
  • 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials: 1st all-around; 1st bars (tie); 3rd floor
  • 2012 Visa Championships (U.S. nationals): 2nd all-around; 1st bars; 3rd floor
  • 2011 Visa Championships (U.S. nationals): 3rd bars (tie); 7th all-around
  • 2011 CoverGirl Classic: 2nd bars
  • 2010 Visa Championships (Jr. Division): 4th all-around; 4th vault; 2nd beam; 8th floor (tie)

A Bit of Her Background

Douglas was born on December 31, 1995, to Timothy Douglas and Natalie Hawkins. Her hometown is Virginia Beach, Va., and she started gymnastics in 2002. Douglas has two older sisters, Arielle and Joyelle, and an older brother, Johnathan.

See More for Yourself

Check out these photos of Gabby Douglas in action.

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Your Citation
Deusen, Amy Van. "7 Things to Know About Olympic Gymnast Gabby Douglas." ThoughtCo, Sep. 12, 2017, thoughtco.com/gymnast-gabby-douglas-1714662. Deusen, Amy Van. (2017, September 12). 7 Things to Know About Olympic Gymnast Gabby Douglas. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/gymnast-gabby-douglas-1714662 Deusen, Amy Van. "7 Things to Know About Olympic Gymnast Gabby Douglas." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/gymnast-gabby-douglas-1714662 (accessed September 25, 2017).