Olympic Champion Gabby Douglas Inspires Next Generation Gymnasts
(Collierville, TN) At Just 16, Gabby Douglas has made Olympic history, becoming the first African-American woman to win gold in the all-around gymnastics competition at the Summer Olympics. Now, Douglas is inspiring the next generation of Black gymnasts.
They`re quick, strong and passionate about an ultimate goal.
“To go to the Olympics and win the all-around,” said 10-year-old Mariah Patterson, she is one of about 100 girls practicing 30 hours a week at Gymstars in Collierville.
She`s worked on her dream, since she was 3 years old.
“I miss out on some of my friend’s birthday parties, but one day I hope it will all pay off,” said Patterson.
With Gabby Douglas` historic gold medal performance in London, Mariah`s dream seems a little easier to grasp.
” I was thinking maybe one day I could be in the same position as Gabby Douglas,” expressed Patterson.
The fifth grader won`t be old enough to go for the gold in the 2016 Olympic Games, but 15-year-old Nuriya Mack will.
” I got this app that allowed me to watch her live. I shouldn`t have watched through practice, but I did. Then I watched it at home and I cried,” said Mack.
Nuriya and her friends say Douglas` win for them, broke barriers.
” I didn`t think it was impossible, but no one had ever done it. For her to do it, it was a real big deal to me,” said Mack.
Gymstars Coach and owner Donna Alexin says Gabby`s Gold is colorless. The 16 year old`s story of sacrifice is what she wants to stick with her gymnasts.
” You might set your goals for the moon, you`ll land in the stars,” said Alexin.
It`s Gabby Douglas`s perseverance that Nuriya is also in awe of.
“Right before the Olympics she wanted to quit. I thought, ‘wow what if she had quit? What if she never took that chance to do it?’ That spoke to me, I decided im going to take a chance and go to the 2016 Olympics,” expressed Mack.
Nuriya, who’s already competing in national events, says she`ll start homeschooling next week, so she`ll have more time to practice. Just to have a chance at flying like Gabby.
“Just everything about her inspires me,” said Mack.