Gabby Douglas, who made history as the first black woman to ever win Olympic gold in individual all-around gymnastics at this years London Olympics, has admitted that she considered giving it all up only last year.
As revealed in her new memoir, only seven months before she tumbled into the Olympic history books, Gabby told her family she was done with the sport and was seriously considering swapping trades and going to work as a sandwich merchant at Chick-Fil-A. Faced with homesickness due to the gruelling schedule her sport offers, as well as occasionally being on the receiving end of a torrent of racial abuse wherever she went, we can clearly see why she did consider giving it all up.
She writes in her book that she thought: “I can get a job at Chick-Fil-A in Virginia Beach and live off the 14-grand I just won at World Championships...I just want to be a normal teenage kid."
The new insight into the life of the 16-year-old gymnast also reveals that her mother, Natalie Hawkins, had supported the family on her own while Gabby’s dad was serving abroad with the Air National Guard. Having allowed her daughter to move across states from Virginia to Iowa to further her gymnastics career, the proposal to give up the sport altogether was a crushing one for Natalie, but fortunately for everyone Gabby kept at it and is now enjoying the fruits of her labour.
Grace, Gold & Glory by Gabrielle Douglas and Michelle Burford is out now.