theGrio’s 100: Gabby Douglas, gold medalist with an Olympic-sized smile

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For many, watching gymnast Gabby Douglas lead her team to gold and then earning an individual all-around gold medal was the highlight of the 2012 Olympics Games in London. Douglas sat down with theGrio.com's Todd Johnson to discuss her place in history.

Who is Gabby Douglas?

For many, watching gymnast Gabby Douglas lead her team to gold and then earning an individual all-around gold medal was the highlight of the 2012 Olympics Games in London. Douglas, who turned 17 in December, trained in West Des Moines, Iowa by way of Virginia Beach. She is the undisputed star of gymnastics and nearly doubled Michael Phelps in popularity and hits online during the Olympics.

Why is she on theGrio’s 100?

Douglas’ star power is clear. Her passionate floor routines and high-flying aerial displays on the uneven bars proved she was the best in the world. Her accomplishments in London led to a presidential congrats, an interview with Oprah, several magazine covers and late night talk show appearances. She was inspiration to young athletes of all colors – something theGrio wrote about extensively last summer:

“Given Gabby’s global success, her inspiration is much more broad than just African-American girls,” wrote Dwayne McClary for theGrio last August. “After winning the first gold medal, Douglas attributed the victory to ‘a lot of hard work, a lot of passion, and a lot of sacrifices and termination,’ advice that is valuable to all of us.”

TheGrio:

What’s next for Douglas?

Douglas told theGrio’s Todd Johnson in December she would begin training in late spring for the 2016 Games in Rio. (something her coach recently wouldn’t confirm) No American gymnast has ever won the individual all-around gold medal twice – but Gabby could be the first. She will certainly have a busy schedule between now and then – with a 40-city gymnastics tour, public appearances and speaking engagements.

She will also continue to promote her book Grace, Gold & Glory: My Leap of Faith which has already brought her fans closer to the pint-sized sensation.

Follow Gabby Douglas on Twitter @gabrielledoug