Gabby Douglas did more than guide the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team to its first team gold since 1996 on Tuesday. With her show-stopping performances in four events and bursting personality, the 16-year-old from Virginia Beach cemented herself as one of the breakout star of the 2012 London Olympics.
Douglas had an integral role in the U.S. team’s gold-medal winning run. She was the only member of Team USA to compete in all four events, and had the best composite score–61.465–of any individual. Douglas brought home the top U.S. score on the balance beam and a solid performance on the uneven bars–an apparatus that earned her the nickname “Flying Squirrel,” the Marion Patch noted.
Her personality shown through during all the performances. As the Miami Herald noted, “Douglas was speedy, agile, a bouncing ball of fire. She couldn’t stop smiling.” That near-constant smile was in contrast to the serious and sometimes stern demeanor of other competitors.
Leading up the what would be the biggest moment of her life, Gabby Douglas found inspiration from a Biblical story about someone who knew a little something about reaching the Promised Land, the Des Moines Register reported. The 16-year-old, who moved to West Des Moines to train, tweeted a verse from the Old Testament book of Joshua on Saturday.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord will be with you wherever you go!
— Gabrielle Douglas (@gabrielledoug) July 28, 2012
Gabby Douglass turned to the quote again Tuesday after her team’s victory.
“I don’t think we wanted to settle for less,” Douglas said after Team USA’s dominant win. “We wanted to go out there and be aggressive, and be strong and courageous, and not be afraid. So we went out there and did that. And it feels awesome to be champions.”
Gabby Douglas now has the “Fab 5,” as the team is known, drawing some lofty comparisons.
“This is the best team of all time. You can quote me on that,” her coach John Geddert told the Des Moines Register after Team USA outdistanced silver medalist Russia by more than five points. “Others might disagree. The ’96 team might disagree with me. But difficulty-wise, consistency-wise, definitely USA’s finest.”
Gabby Douglas amazing run could still have some steam left. She is competing for individual medals in the balance beam, uneven bars and all-around on Thursday.