Gabby Douglas’s historic run at the 2012 Olympics in London may be over, but interest in the world-class gymnast is just beginning.
The now two-time gold medalist has received attention from the world on just about everything from her Olympic performances to her hair and family life.
In an Essence.com interview, Douglas and her mother, Natalie Hawkins talked about their reaction to all of the attention and what’s next for the super star athlete.
One thing is certain; the gymnast has no plans on slowing down. Asked what we can look forward to from her, Douglas said: “I just want to continue with gymnastics because I’m still young and fresh. I think can get some more titles under my belt. I want to get one of the American Cup trophies and get some more international experience. That would be fun.”
Many people watched her compete this year and are in awe of her talent, especially young black girls. When asked what she hopes these girls will learn from her, Douglas wanted them to know that they can do anything.
“I just want them to know that everything is possible and just to go out there and fight,” the gymnast told Essence. ”If you have this dream, just go out there and don’t be scared. Always be courageous and strong, and don’t fear. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it.”
Gabby put her mind to it and she was able to live her dream with the support of her mother, Natalie Hawkins.
Hawkins told Essence.com that knowing that her daughter had a chance to make her dream come true — and possibly make history — is what kept her going through difficult financial times.
“It’s not every day that you get to help your child achieve such a lofty dream,” Hawkins said. “I’ve had a lot of criticism from family friends along the way. Right now, I get the last laugh. And they’re all coming to me like, “Oh my God, I’m so sorry. Can you help me do this with my daughter?” The fact that I was able to be that inspiration for friends and family and other people is an extremely amazing honor for me.”
Hawkins also addressed the internet controversy over her daughter’s hair, which she thought took the focus away from where it should have been: Gabby’s performance.
“From the very beginning I thought the focus should have been on her wonderfully amazing talent, and not on how put together her hair was,” Hawkins said.
Read the full interview on Essence.com
Follow Melissa Noel on Twitter at @noelknowswell.