Teen Vogue: August Cover Star Gabby Douglas Is Determined to Make Olympic History Again

Jun 30, 2016 at 11:15 AM

From TeenVogue.com - By Elaine Welteroth

It’s less than 100 days until the Olympic Games kick off in Rio, and the reigning two-time champion gymnast Gabby Douglas is munching on french fries inside a kosher diner in New York City. She’s been on the national morning-show circuit since 5 a.m., and the superstar can hardly make it through her lunch without being bombarded by fans eager for a photo. She pauses between bites to graciously embrace every single one of her supporters — young and old, of seemingly every race, religion, and socioeconomic status — with a warm hug and that signature megawatt smile.

“I literally never thought I would ever have so many people behind me. It’s so special. I feel like I’m one of theirs, you know?” Gabby, 20, shares. “Sometimes I’m like, why are all those people taking pictures of that wall? And then I realize I am standing in front of it.”

The Gift of Gabby

Whether or not you know the difference between a vault and a beam, it’s difficult not to immediately fall in love with Gabby. Aside from her mesmerizing ability to float through the air with the greatest of ease and stick landings flawlessly — a rarefied talent that has earned her the nickname Flying Squirrel — it’s Gabby’s inspiring story and warm, bubbly personality that quickly made her America’s Olympic sweetheart in London back in 2012.

By 16, Gabby accomplished at her first Olympic Games what no American gymnast had ever done before: She won both the coveted individual all-around title and led her team (dubbed the Fierce Five) to a gold medal — and also happens to be the first woman of color in the sport to do so. “It was just insane knowing that I had spent my whole life dreaming about this one specific goal and achieved it,” Gabby recalls. Come Rio, she is determined to make history again, as the first gymnast to successfully defend her all-around gold medal since 1968.

Check out the full story and photo shoot at TeenVogue.com

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