US gymnast Gabrielle Douglas won hearts everywhere with her stellar performance at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London that led to her capturing the coveted all-around gold medal. She and teammates McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross and Jordyn Wieber also won the team all-around gold at the games, easily earning their nickname ‘The Fierce Five.’
Now the 16-year-old is telling her story in her memoir, Grace, Gold & Glory: My Leap of Faith that will be released on December 4 through HarperCollins. Gabrielle talked exclusively with Celebrity Teen Scoop about the book, what she’s been doing since her monumental summer, and what she has coming up for the future. (Hint: 2016 in Rio!)
Celebrity Teen Scoop: You’ve had quite a year with your Olympic successes! And now you have a memoir coming out – tell us a little bit about the book.
Gabrielle: I have my new book coming out, Grace, Gold, and Glory. It’s all about my background, story, and where I came from.
CTS: Can you give us some insight into the title, Grace Gold and Glory? Did you come up with it yourself?
Gabrielle: I thought ‘grace’ would be a perfect, because it refers to the grace of God and the grace of gymnastics. ‘Gold’ means going for your dreams and in this case also going for the gold. ‘Glory’ refers to my love for God. I had people come around and help me figure out the title.
CTS: We hear you almost quit gymnastics just months before the Olympics, but a family member urged you to continue. Can you share that story with us?
Gabrielle: Yes, I almost quit gymnastics and wanted to join other sports like track and field. I was just very homesick. I hadn’t been home for a while, and my family came to Iowa to visit me for Christmas. I wanted to go home really bad. My brother urged me to continue. My siblings, mom, and coaches all sat me down and told me to keep fighting.
CTS: There was some mention in the press about the racism and bullying you had to deal with as an African American gymnast. Give us more insight into this and how it has affected you.
Gabrielle: No one ever wants to be made fun of, and I went through that and it was very hard. I had to overcome that, but I have a very forgiving heart. I forgive them and I’ve moved on.
CTS: Do you see your teammates McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross and Jordyn Wieber very often? What do you all like to do together when you’re not training?
Gabrielle: Yes, I do see them very often. We all just finished a tour together and we’ve seen each other a lot. When we are not training, we like to go shopping and hang out.
CTS: Everyone was devastated when Jordyn Wieber failed to qualify. What did you do to reach out and comfort her after that painful moment?
Gabrielle: I was devastated for her when this happened, because the one thing that she wanted to do, her biggest dream, was to go to the Olympics and make the finals. She worked so hard! We all just talked to her because she still had a job to do, with team finals taking place the next day. We all told her to keep fighting and stay strong. We told her there was still a chance to shine in team finals.
CTS: What was your favorite moment at the Olympics? And are you already gearing up for 2016?
Gabrielle: My favorite moment was in the finals, after I finished up the floor routine. I jumped into [coach Ling] Chow’s arms and I thanked him for everything. I am definitely already gearing up for the 2016 Olympics. I want to attend Rio.
CTS: We hear you have a guest role on Vampire Diaries! Tell us more about the experience.
Gabrielle: The segment already aired. It was really fun meeting the cast! I also want to wish cast member Ian Somerhalder a very happy birthday! It was a lot of fun working with the cast.
CTS: How will you be spending the holidays?
Gabrielle: I am going on a cruise with my family to the Caribbean.
CTS: What’s coming up for you in 2013?
Gabrielle: It all depends on when I get back into the gym, but I hope to make it to Visa Championships, which is a major competition.