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Little Known Black History Fact: Gabby Douglas

Posted: Aug 06, 2012


U.S. Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas became the first African-American to win the all-around Olympic gold and the first American athlete to win both the team gold in gymnastics and the all-around gold medal. The 16 year-old left her home to live with a host family in Des Moines, Iowa two years ago to train for London. She has been nicknamed “The Flying Squirrel” by friends for her amazing aerodynamics. After winning in London, she’s been re-nicknamed “Golden Gabby” alongside her team members who have now been referenced as “The Fierce Five.”

Douglas’ mother, Natalie Hawkins, a single mother of four, lived on an estimated $2,500 per month through disability. It was reported that she recently filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Hawkins held a little over $163,000 in assets with $80,000 in debt. She has taken ownership of her financial struggle in the press, explaining that she was thankful for an option to keep her home. Her daughter, now a world champion, has received various endorsements worth $2-4 million dollars each.

After her big win, Douglas wasn’t just given praise for her efforts. Some African-American viewers openly criticized her on twitter and message boards for her choice of hairstyle. Her media response was, "… What's wrong with my hair? …Are you kidding me? I just made history. And you're focusing on my hair? I just want to say, we're all beautiful inside out. I don't think people should be worried about that. Nothing is going to change."


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