The Life and History of Gabrielle Christina Victoria Douglas Essay

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Gabrielle Christina Victoria Douglas was born on December 31, 1995 in Virginia Beach, Virginia[6] to parents Timothy Douglas and Natalie Hawkins.[7] She has three siblings.[8] She began training in gymnastics at age six when her older sister, Arielle, convinced their mother to enroll her in gymnastics classes.[9] Douglas began her training under the supervision of coach Dana Walker at Excalibur Gymnastics in Virginia Beach.[10]At the age of eight, Douglas won the Level 4 all-around gymnastics title at the 2004 Virginia State Championships.Douglas made her national debut at the 2010 Nastia Liukin Supergirl Cup, a televised Level 10 meet held in Worcester, Massachusetts, where Douglas placed fourth all-around.[6]Her first elite meet was the 2010 CoverGirl Classic in Chicago, Illinois, where Douglas placed third on balance beam, 6th on vault and 9th all-around in the junior division.[6]At the 2010 U.S. Junior National Championships, Douglas won the silver medal on balance beam, placed fourth all-around and on vault, and tied for eighth on floor exercise.[6]At the 2010 Pan American Championships in Guadalajara, Mexico, Douglas won the uneven bars title, and she won a share of the U.S. team gold medal. She also placed fifth all-around.[6]In October, at age 14, Douglas moved from Virginia Beach to West Des Moines, Iowa to train under Liang Chow, the former coach of 2007 World Champion and 2008 Summer Olympics gold medalist Shawn Johnson.[13] Douglas was home schooled by her host family.[8][14] Although Douglas' former coach, Walker, stated in 2012 that she was convinced Douglas could have made it to the Olympics if she had remained in Virginia Beach, Douglas said, "Something clicked in my head that said, if I really want to make this happen I need to get better coaching."[10] The impetus for Douglas's move to Iowa was when Walker had invited Chow to teach a clinic at her gym, Excalibur.[10] Douglas was impressed when Chow was able to teach her how to perform the Amanar vault in a single afternoon.[4] Douglas considered a move to Texas to train with a renowned coach there, but after that coach declined to train her out of loyalty to Walker, Douglas selected Chow.[15] Chow was initially skeptical, since Douglas had been just one of hundreds of kids at the clinic in Virginia Beach.[10] However, Chow subsequently informed Douglas's Excalibur coaches that he had agreed to train her, but pointed out that he did not recruit her, saying, "I would never recruit anybody to my program."At the City of Jesolo Trophy in Italy, Douglas won a share of the U.S. team gold medal. She also placed second on floor, tied for third on beam, and placed fourth in the all-around and on vault.[6]Douglas earned the silver medal in uneven bars at the CoverGirl Classic in Chicago.[6]At the 2011 U.S. National Championships in St. Paul, Minnesota, Douglas tied for third on bars and placed seventh all-around.[6]At the 2011 World Championships in Tokyo, Japan, Douglas shared in the team gold medal won by the U.S. Douglas also placed fifth in uneven bars.[16][17]At the AT&T American Cup at Madison Square Garden in March, Douglas received the highest total all-around score in the women's competition, ahead of her teammate and current world champion Jordyn Wieber. However, her scores did not count towards winning the competition because she was an alternate.[18]Later in March, she was part of the gold-winning U.S. team at the Pacific Rim Championships, where she also won gold in uneven bars.[19]

Douglas at the Secret U.S. Classic in 2012At the 2012 U.S. National Championships in June, Douglas won the gold medal in uneven bars, silver in the all-around, and bronze in floor. Márta Károlyi, the National Team Coordinator for USA Gymnastics, nicknamed Douglas the "Flying Squirrel" for her aerial performance on the uneven bars.[1][20][21] After winning a spot on the U.S. women's Olympic gymnastics team, Douglas and her teammates were featured on the cover of Sports…