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Matthew Lynch, Ed.D.

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Why We Love Gabby!

Posted: 08/08/2012 6:28 pm

If you have been paying any attention at all to the Olympics coverage, and even if you haven't been, there's a good chance you have at least heard Gabby's name. She's quickly become an American gem, a household name, and one who's name we will be hearing a lot more about. But why? With all those who are competing in London this year, what is it about Gabby that has made her rise to the surface and get noticed? A lot!

Gabrielle "Gabby" Douglas is only 16 years old, yet she's on a career path that most could only dream of. According to her bio, her first brush with gymnastics came at the age of three, when her older sister introduced her to cartwheels. It was apparently one of those things that just clicked for her, because that got her off to a rapid start that lead to where we are today. Her path to London has included officially starting gymnastics at age 6, leaving home at age 14 to live with a white host family in Iowa to train with her current coach.

By 2010, after beginning her training with Coach Liang Chow, she entered into her first competition. From there, she has been taking part in competitions regularly. She's come a long way in a short amount of time. Some find that you have to endure grueling training since toddlerhood in order to go on to win the gold. But she has proven that some are just born with a gift, and with hard work, they can bring those skills to the world.

Just two years into training with her elite coach, she's made her way to winning gold in the Olympics. As a result, some even believe she may go on to get endorsements over the next several years worth millions. There's no doubt we will be seeing her sweetheart of a smile for a while. When it comes to Gabby, we love her gymnastics, but even more importantly, we love her.

Gabby has an infectious smile, for starters. She looks like she enjoys what she is doing so much that she pulls you in and makes you an instant fan. As she flashes that smile on the screen you can't help but to smile back. But it doesn't stop there, she is also personable with an attitude that can't be beat. When she speaks to the media, she is humble, articulate, and comes across as a real sweetheart. She's someone that you want to succeed, that you want to route for as you sit in your living room.

There's another thing we love about Gabby. She represents middle class America. She comes from a single parent home, where her mother works hard. She also demonstrates what it takes to pursue a dream, even when there is a cost, or in her case, a separation. It's highly likely that Gabby didn't want to have to move away from her family to train. But she knew inside that she has something special, and she believed she could take it to the top. So she moved from her home in Virginia Beach and began training diligently. And it has paid off dearly.

Gabby is always glowing, showing her love for what she does, and she's here to stay. She has quickly made her way to winning gold and into the hearts of Americans everywhere. She's a well accomplished young woman, with an entire lifespan ahead of her. We as a country can't wait to see what she will do next, and what she will be doing several years from now.

There's been a lot of talk about how Gabby will become a new role model for young black girls everywhere. She may even inspire many to take up gymnastics or follow other Olympic dreams. That's great, but I don't think it stops there. It's not just young black girls that she has inspired. Not by a long shot. Gabby has inspired a nation. She has inspired both boys and girls, black and white, to want to pursue their dreams. And in a time when the country faces so much uncertainty, we can take comfort in what she brings to the table, bars, or the mat.

 

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