Olympic gold medalist Dominique Dawes has love for the newest African-American gymnast representing Team USA, but she’s not feelin’ her nickname.
Gabby Douglas, 16, the only Black member of this year’s Olympic women’s gymnastics team, has Dominique’s support, but the ’96 Olympian refuses to refer to her as “The Flying Squirrel.”
“I’ll be honest with you. I do not like that nickname. I’m going to call her ‘Doin’ It Douglas,’ ‘Wowing It Douglas.’ I am trying my hardest to come up with a nickname that’s going to stick,” said Dominique who didn’t explain why she dislikes the name.
“She does fly on the uneven bars. She wows the crowd. You jump out of your seat. Maybe you can be creative and come up with a good nickname,” Dominique said.
The young gymnast wowed audiences in London, and advanced farther than many had expected. She is a serious threat to win an gold in the all-around competition. If she earns gold, Gabby will be the second African American to hold the honor.
Although names and medals are important when it comes to the Olympic games, Gabby’s family will celebrate no matter the outcome.
“I told her we’re gonna celebrate when you win a gold medal like you won a gold medal. You win a silver medal, we’re gonna celebrate like you won a gold. You get a bronze, again, we’re celebrating like you took home the gold. You don’t get a medal at all, we’re going to be there partying like there’s no tomorrow,” Gabby’s mother Natalie Hawkins said.
“We’re going to have a party no matter what you do. Forever more you’re an Olympian and that says it all.”
Watch a video chronicling Gabby’s journey below.
—Tracy L. Scott
Are you watching Gabby compete? Do you like her nickname? Does it matter one way or the other? Leave your comments below.