Lifetime Orders Gabby Douglas Biopic: Regina King, S. Epatha Merkerson To Co-Star

Lifetime has officially ordered a biopic of two-time Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas.

The 17-year-old is the first black gymnast to become the Individual All-Around Champion and the first American gymnast to win gold in the individual all-around and team competitions.

The biopic stars Imani Hakim (Everybody Hates Chris) as Douglas, Southland star Regina King as her mother, Natalie Hawkins, and Law & Order veteran S. Epatha Merkerson, as her grandmother, Carolyn Ford. Sydney Mikayla will play Douglas as a child. Gabby Douglas will also appear in the film.

The Gabby Douglas Story details the “inspiring true story of the international gymnastics phenomenon, who overcame overwhelming odds to become the first African-American ever to be named Individual All-Round Champion in artistic gymnastics at the Olympics,” according to The Wrap.

After the 2012 London Olympics, Gabby Douglas became the country’s “It” girl. The teenager was quickly thrust into the spotlight. Douglas opened up about her absentee father and how it affected her mother and three siblings.

“It was really hard for us growing up — my dad had left us, so he wasn’t really in the picture anymore,” Douglas said.”So my mom had to front all these bills. My dad didn’t really pay the child support. He was short (on money). It was definitely hard on her part, and she had to take care of me and the rest of my siblings.”

Douglas said she had not been in touch with her father even after she won the Olympics. Timothy Douglas did, however, appear at the US Olympic trials in June.

“I’m like, ‘Who’s calling my name?’ And then I look up, it was my dad and his friend, and I haven’t seen him in a while,'” Douglas said. “They were holding up the flag. And I almost felt like bawling. I was like, “Oh my gosh, Dad!'”

HarperCollins published Gabby Douglas’ memoir, Grace, Gold, and Glory: My Leap of Faith, in December 2012.

Douglas said she and her mother wanted to let people know about how they overcame hard times, and how their Christian faith helped Douglas focus on her dream.

The Gabby DouglasStory premieres in 2014.

[Photo credit: Helga Esteb /]