Gabby Douglas was born in Virginia Beach, Virginia and grew up there until, at 14, she left her family to train with world famous gymnastics coach, Liang Chow, in Des Moines, Iowa.
Douglas is a very devout Christian and she has no qualms talking about it publicly. After she won a gold medal in London during the 2012 Olympic Games, when millions were watching her every move, she tweeted:
I just give all the glory to God. It’s kind of a win-win situation: the glory goes up to Him and the blessings come down to me.
In Des Moines, Gabby lived with a strong Christian family and attended their church, the Valley Church, where she became quite the local celebrity. At times, she was called up to speak and inspire the congregation. She would talk about her gymnastics training, her victories and the fact that she would get anxiety if her mother forgot to text her a daily Bible scripture.
The aforementioned tweet was, for some reason, a bit controversial with reporters writing articles asking other reporters to not forget the religion angle of Douglas’ story, worrying that the media storm would focus more on the fact that she is the first black gold medal-winning gymnast in American history.
America on the international stage
Douglas brought America to the world stage–and not in the “we’re going to bomb you” sort of way. The fact that she’s black and won an Olympic gold medal in gymnastics is a bit of a political statement all its own, and she knows it:
I have an advantage because I’m the underdog and I’m black and no one thinks I’d ever win. Well, I’m going to inspire so many people. Everybody will be talking about, how did she come up so fast? But I’m ready to shine.
Douglas wasn’t old enough to vote in 2012–when her breakout moment occurred, but she did use her young star power to underhandedly endorse the Democrats (and Obama) when she stepped out on stage at the Democratic National Convention to lead the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.
And that’s not the extent of her experience with Obama, whether it’s visiting the White House or joking around with Michelle Obama on the set of a late night talk show.
My guess, if we had to pin her down, she’d be a Democrat.
Reporters: Don’t crush Olympian Gabby Douglas’ interesting story ↩︎
U.S. Gymnastics Team Visits Obama: Gabby Douglas, ‘Fierce Five’ Visit White House ↩︎
Michelle Obama Makes Gabby Douglas Apologize for Celebrating Her Olympic Gold Medals with an Egg McMuffin ↩︎