All Articles Tagged "Olympic gymnasts"
Just five days after becoming the first black girl to win the all-around title in gymnastics and the first gymnast to win that title as well as the team gold, Gabby Douglas is on the cover of People Magazine.
She’ll likely make big bucks for the publication, considering she is the single most popular athlete in this year’s Olympics. According to the Associated Press:
NBC says the gymnastics gold medalist is the most clicked-upon athlete on its Olympics website. Through Sunday, her profile on the site had more than 18 million page views. That’s far above the second-ranked athlete, swimmer Michael Phelps, whose profile had just over 7 million page views.
Clearly, America loves women’s gymnastics. NBC also says that four of the five most clicked-upon athletes were female gymnasts.
Gabby’s press coverage was slow in the beginning as many were still focused on World Champion Jordyn Wieber. In fact MSNBC’s Tamron Hall credited black bloggers for the initial buzz around Gabby after she won an automatic bid in the US Olympic finals. By the time she led her team to win their first gold medal since the Magnificent Seven won in 1996, she was a household name. She sealed her place in history after becoming only the fourth US gymnast in history to win the all-around gold medal.
In the past two weeks, her rise in popularity has been nearly as stunning as her performances. She gained a Twitter shoutout from the likes of Oprah, Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga; a website shoutout from Beyonce; a phone call from President Obama; and a face-to-face meeting with Kate Middleton. Not too shabby for a 16-year-old from Virginia Beach who only began training with her current coach in Iowa a mere 21 months ago.
Now the teen athlete can take her star power all the way to the bank. USA Today reports that Gabby is the biggest gymnastic star since Mary Lou Retton and her accomplishment combined with her personality ensures that the endorsements have already begun rolling in:
An all-around gymnastics gold medal is worth about $2 million annually in endorsements. And Douglas picked up a big one last Friday, landing on front of the Kellogg’s Corn Flakes cereal box. She’d previously signed a deal with Procter & Gamble after winning the U.S. Olympic trials in San Jose.
AJ Maestas, president of Chicago-based Navigate Marketing told LA Times: ”If [Gabby's] business is well-managed and her career stays on track, she should make between $2 million and $4 million in endorsement revenue per year for the next four years.”
Her business should be well-managed as the LA Times also reported that Gabby has an agent, Sheryl Shade. The same agent who helped Shawn Johnson parlay her 2008 Olympic performance of three silver medals and a balance beam gold into a post-Olympic career that included a winning turn on “Dancing With the Stars”. Sounds like Gabby is already on the right track.
Though the gymnast wrote that winning the Team Gold was the biggest night of her life, it’s highly likely she has big days ahead as well. Kudos to People Magazine for choosing her for the cover.
Follow Alissa on Twitter @AlissaInPink
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A black girl hasn’t won an individual medal in gymnastics at the Olympics, since Dominique Dawes’ won a bronze-medal in 1996. However, 16-year-old Gabrielle “Gabby” Douglas is aiming to make history in the 2012 games.
The 5 foot, 94-pound gymnast nicknamed “Flying Squirrel” is originally from Virginia Beach, but moved to Iowa when she was just 14 to train with Liang Chow, the coach of 2008 gold medalist Shawn Johnson. She was a member of the U.S. team that won the gold medal in the team finals at the 2011 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Tokyo, Japan. Now, she is looking to compete in the Olympics for the US Team.
The Washington Post reports:
Douglas, who prefers to be called “Gabby,” won the gold medal on the uneven bars and got edged by just two-tenths of a point for the all-around gold by defending champion Jordyn Wieber at the USA gymnastics national championships in May.
Next comes the 2012 U.S. Olympic trials, Thursday through Sunday in San Jose, where 15 women and 15 men will vie for just five spots each on the London-bound teams. Wieber and Douglas appear certain picks.
Douglas’s forte is the uneven bars, a traditional weakness of the U.S. women, flying around the bars and delighting in difficult release moves. She’s equally lithe and athletic on the balance beam. And after falling at nationals, which cost her the all-around title, she showed formidable resolve in hopping back on and completing her routine with no trace of nerves.
Pressure, Douglas explains, has never made her “chicken out.” It only drives her to be better.
“Kind of like Superman!’” she says with a laugh.
Black female athletes are strongly represented in the Summer Olympics, but mostly in track & field, so it will be awesome to see some representation in gymnastics at the Olympics this year. Dominique Dawes was 15 when she went to the Olympics for the first time. She and Betty Okino, another African-American gymnast, both became the first African-American females to win an Olympic gymnastics medal that year in 1992. Here’s hoping Gabby Douglas makes the Olympic team this year and brings home a gold.
What’s your favorite Summer Olympics sport? Do you watch gymnastics?
Alissa Henry is a freelance writer living in Columbus, OH. Follow her on Twitter @AlissaInPink
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