Jeresy Girl Sports fam, when the Associated Press selected Gabby Douglas as its female Athlete Of The Year, there were many factors that were considered. Certainly the athletic skill and overall talent are considered, but also the accomplishments over the year and the impact of those accomplishments. Top that off with an athlete with syle and grace and you have the makings of an honoree befitting the auspicious award.
Gabby Douglas certainly embodies those considerations and more. Aside from being the first African-American gymnast and thie first since Mary Lou Retton in 1984 to win the Olympic all-around title, the "Queen of the Olympics" has touched lives and inspired the world. She beat out Missy Franklin and Serena Williams and here's the top 5 reasons we think she was the best choice:
1. Her story: Leaving her parents at 14 years-old to train in Iowa and pushing through the normal teen struggles and angst to reach her dream is the antithesis of the American dream. Discipline, hard work, resilience and the undeniable belief that "you can" is the life she lives and the lesson we learn.
2. Her character: In spite of world fame and accolades, she remains humble and grateful. With grace and maturity beyond her years, she responds to critics and nay-sayers with a smile, brushing off the "haters" and focusing on the good in her life. That's an example we should all take note of.
3. Her impact
: Being the "first" anything is usually a good thing. In Gabby's case, it's astounding. In a sport where few African-Americans have claim, Gabby has set the bar high while moving beyond the color line inspiring not only African-Americans but all of us who believe that our dream is worth having and achieving.
Said Douglas in a Huffington Post interview Douglas said,
"I didn't realize how much of an impact I made," said Douglas, who turns 17 on Dec. 31. "My mom and everyone said, `You really won't know the full impact until you're 30 or 40 years old.' But it's starting to sink in.... I want people to think, `Gabby can do it, I can do it,'" Douglas said. "Set that bar. If you're going through struggles or injuries, don't let it stop you from what you want to accomplish."
4. Her power: Now a global brand, Douglas has contracts with Nike, AT&T, and Kellog's to name a few. Her zest for life, amazing smile and energy are electric--and contagious. So much so that her agent Sheryl Shade says that Douglas is drawing attention from companies who don't normally partner with Olympians or athletes.
5. Her legacy: It sseems a bit too soon to be talking about the legacy of a girl who hasn't even reached legal age, yet Gabby Douglas is already leaving a legacy of hope, determination and the spirit and will to reach goals--and win. But it's more than that. Her legacy will also be that of teamwork, family and love and support. It is in this that we celebrate today, tomorrow and always.
Congratulations to the "flying squirrel", Gabby Douglas. She is a shining star that is only getting brighter.
"I think there's even higher bars to set," Douglas said.
Go Gabby. Go!
Your Jersey Girlfriend,