Gabby Douglas almost chose a job at a fast food restaurant over gymnastics.
Olympic champion Gabby Douglas almost quit gymnastics to work at Chick-fil-A, according to the New York Daily News. Ms. Douglas and her teammates, McKayla Maroney, Kyla Ross, Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber, won the gold at this summer’s 2012 London Olympic Games.
“I can get a job at Chick-Fil-A in Virginia Beach and live off the 14-grand I just won at World Championships,” Ms. Douglas wrote in her new memoir, “Grace, Gold & Glory.” “I just want to be a normal teenage kid.”
Ms. Douglas’ journey to the 2012 London Olympic Games was not an easy one. In addition to the grueling workout schedule and training sessions, the gold medal-winning gymnast also had to deal with resentment against her father.
According to her memoir, Ms. Douglas had not seen her father for two years when she happened to spot him up in the stands at a meet before the Olympics. The gymnast said that the sight of her father put her on edge before the competition.
“Dad began telling the media how he always supported me in my gymnastics career,” Ms. Douglas wrote. “The truth is that he didn’t.”
Ms. Douglas said that her father texted her later that day asking that she autograph a few items for her.
Ms. Douglas and her teammates recently visited the White House and met with President Barack Obama. According to The Associated Press, the gymnasts, known as the “Fierce Five,” missed a White House visit earlier this year because of their national tour schedule.
The Fierce Five’s Olympic success has thrust the gymnasts into the national spotlight, giving them the opportunity to ring the New York Stock Exchange closing bell, help Al Roker with the weather on NBC’s “Today” show and appear with David Letterman on CBS’ “Late Show.”
Ms. Douglas’ teammate, McKayla Maroney, showed Mr. Letterman her now infamous “not impressed” expression.
Ms. Douglas and First Lady Michele Obama appeared together on the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” During the appearance, Mrs. Obama teased the gymnast for “splurging on a McDonald’s Egg Mcmuffin” after winning the gold medal.
“‘Yea, Gabby, don’t encourage that! But I’m sure it was on a whole wheat muffin.” Mrs. Obama said in response.
In her memoir, Ms. Douglas also discusses her struggles with insults at the Virginia gym where she began her training. She notes that when she was 12 years old one of her coaches told her that she needed a nose job. The gymnast’s rivals piggybacked on the coach’s suggestions and taunted Gabby about her nose.
Later, Ms. Douglas said, she asked her mom if she was pretty. Her mom said yes.
Ms. Douglas was the first African American to win the title of best all-around gymnast at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
“Oh, my gosh, I forgot about that,” Ms. Douglas said after winning the gold medal, according to SI.com. “It’s definitely an amazing feeling and great honor to be the first African-American to win. I hope I can inspire people. My mother told me that I can inspire a nation.”