Olympic champion Douglas reveals she nearly quit gymnastics to work at fast food chain
Olympic teen sensation Gabby Douglas, who made history as the first black woman to ever win Games gold in individual all-around gymnastics, has revealed she reached a point last year where she thought about dropping out of the sport altogether and work in a fast food chain instead.
Seven months before she vaulted to Olympic glory, Douglas told her family she was done with gymnastics and was ready to trade the uneven bars for a life slinging sandwiches at Chick-Fil-A.
Homesick for her family and worn down by years of grueling training in a sport where blacks were scarce and rampant racism sometimes bubbled from beneath the surface, the then 15-year-old phenom was ready to hang it up.
"Gymnastics is not my passion anymore," the New York Daily News quoted Douglas, as saying in her new memoir, 'Grace, Gold and Glory.'
Gabby said she wanted to run track, or be a dancer, or anything but a gymnast.
"I can get a job at Chick-Fil-A in Virginia Beach and live off the 14-grand I just won at World Championships," she wrote in the memoir.
"I just want to be a normal teenage kid," she wrote.
Natalie Hawkins, who had supported the family on her own while Douglas' dad was serving abroad with the Air National Guard, made the painful decision to allow her daughter to move away from Virginia Beach to live and train with a white family in Iowa, and she was crushed that her daughter wanted to give up.
However, Douglas had reached the end of her rope. She would not back down. She wouldn't listen when her sister, Joyelle, tried to intercede.
It took a dressing down from the real man in her life, big brother John, to get her back on the mat.