Gabby Douglas Copes With Being New ‘America’s Sweetheart’
Gabby Douglas learned quickly during the 2012 London Olympics the trappings that come with fame.
As Fox Sports reported, the 16-year-old wanted to go out for ice cream with her family one night during the games, so they picked her up from the Olympic Village. She was celebrating becoming the first American to win both the all-around and team gold medals, and her older siblings wanted to take her to a hospitality house for athletes and their families.
Gabby Douglas thought her family would sneak in and sneak out. She was wrong.
Even though it was the middle of the night, a crowd swarmed around her, from young fans to older business executives. She posed for pictures, signed autographs, and soon half an hour had passed and she was nowhere near her ice cream.
“I just wanna go get some ice cream, and people crowd around me, and I can’t get my ice cream!” Gabby Douglas told Fox Sports from a hotel in Des Moines.
It has been a whirlwind couple of weeks for Gabby Douglas since she helped lead the US team to gold. She has appeared on The Tonight Show where the First Lady gave her some nutrition tips, and she has even hired her own hair stylist.
Since returning from London, Gabby Douglas has been a media favorite. She has done a number of interviews and appeared in magazine and on television. She even got a chance to ring the bell at the New York Stock exchange.
She will also be featured in the October and November issues of Essence magazine, CBS News reported. For the magazine, she did a photo shoot wearing a gold and black dress and matching high heels, which caused CBS to note that the petite gymnast was “going glam.:
But Gabby Douglas has also learned that she can’t do many of the things she was once able to, Fox Sports reported. That means she can’t work out at the hotel gym or go to the Iowa State Fair to see Boyz II Men.
Even her name is different. Before the Olympics her mother always called her Brie — her full name is Gabrielle — but since the other gymnasts started calling her Gabby, the new name stuck.
“Everybody’s calling her that,” Hawkins told Fox Sports. “Oprah says, ‘I like Gabby! It’s endearing!’ But I try to do it and it’s just weird.’ ”
Her newfound celebrity is causing inconvenience for others too. Making her way through an airport in Charlotte, Gabby had so many people stop to take pictures and ask for autographs that she actually needed airport security to take her to a secure room, and her flight was delayed.
“And the pilot comes off the plane and just says, ‘Now what’s going on?’ ” Gabby Douglas’ mother said. “And you see all these cameras flashing and lights. The pilot breaks through the crowd and says, ‘IT’S GABBY! Guys, you gotta get on the plane. We’re about to leave. But not before I get my picture taken!’ ”