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Before Simone Biles came along, Gabby Douglas was the preeminent gymnast in the United States. She is the first African American to become the Olympic individual all-around champion and the first U.S. gymnast to win gold in both the individual all-around and team competitions at the same Olympics in 2012.

There were no secrets to her success. It was all about hard work, perseverance, and mental toughness.

“You have to go out and get it. I’ve lived by that piece of advice to this day. Nothing was ever given to me. I had to constantly keep working and keep fighting no matter what. I just kept fighting and still continue to fight.”

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Gabby’s mother, Natalie Dawkins, was a big inspiration in her life and designed a “vision board” for Gabby to help fulfill her goals. “Turn your dream into goals,” Douglas said in the Lifetime movie, “The Gabby Douglas Story.” She did just that on her way to becoming a 3-time Olympic gold medalist.

Gabby’s father left her family when she was a very young girl which made things difficult for her in the ultra-competitive world of gymnastics. But her mother made a lot of sacrifices to help give Gabby the training and coaching she needed to become an elite gymnast.

“My mom had to front all these bills,” Douglas told the New York Post. “My dad didn’t really pay the child support. He was short on money. It was definitely hard on her part, and she had to take care of me and the rest of my siblings.” 

Yes, the Gabby Douglas story is worthy of a gold medal.

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