(Streeter Lecka / Getty Images Sport)
Back in 2012, gymnast Gabby Douglas wowed fans as she joined her team, nicknamed the “Fierce Five,” in earning a team all-around gold medal at the Summer Olympics. Douglas also became the only woman of color and the first African-American woman to score a gold medal in the individual all-around.
Douglas’ victory brought a whirlwind of international press and national attention. Her win was an inspiration for young black girls, and aspiring gymnasts. She made a flurry of media appearances, both solo and alongside her teammates. She was even the subject of a TV movie and appeared on a slew of red carpets. Over the past couple of years however, the powerhouse athlete has been fairly quiet.
“I never really wanted to retire. I wanted to take a little bit of a break, and then go for it,” said Douglas.
Her recent performance at the 2015 Secret U.S. Classic competition over the weekend has fans ready for more Gabby Douglas in 2016.
“That’s really such a big motivation for me. That would be so amazing if I could go back and defend my title,” Douglas said before finishing second in Saturday night’s Secret Classic. The event was her first competition in the U.S. since her gold medal win three years ago.
If Douglas were to score another gold medal win in 2016 in the individual all-around, she would become the third woman in the history of the Olympics to do so. The feat was last accomplished nearly 50 years ago.
Douglas has clearly matured from the cute and bright-eyed sixteen year-old with the nickname “Flying Squirrel.” But, at 19, she acknowledges the challenges of competing in a sport that places such a heavy emphasis on youth.
“I have the rest of my life to rest and relax. Why not do it?” she said. “My body feels great, I feel really strong, really powerful, really confident. Why not go for it? Why not give it that shot?
“If I had watched the Olympics and not been there, I’d have been really disappointed in myself.”