Gabby Douglas: Bible, blush and brinner
Birthplace: Virginia Beach, Va.
Siblings: Two older sisters, Arielle and Joyelle, and one older brother, Johnathan
Twitter handle: @gabrielledoug
Twitter followers: 768,591
15 things you don't know about Gabby Douglas:
1. Things happened fast: When Douglas was 3 years old, big sis Arielle taught her how to do a cartwheel. Within months, Douglas had kicked things up a notch, pulling off one-handed cartwheels on her own. At age 6, her mom, Natalie Hawkins, signed up the budding tumbler for training at a local gym; two years later Virginia crowned her the 2004 gymnastics state champion.
2. A Vanity Fair writer calculated that between the ages of 6 and 16, Douglas spent approximately 18,000 hours training.
3. Brinner! The 4-foot-11 powerhouse fuels up with cereal for dinner. She also has sushi dates with her girlfriends, snacks on pretzels and hummus, likes the new McDonald's Egg White Delight McMuffin and, according to her Twitter bio, is "addicted to balsamic vinegar."
4. She has admittedly gone a little wild with the blush, poking fun at herself on Instagram; these days, she loves to use eyeliner and mascara "to make my eyes stand out" and uses MAC lip gloss in Funtabulous.
5. Even though Douglas doesn't have her driver's license yet, she is involved in AT&T's #ItCanWait anti-texting-while-driving campaign. "I saw a story about a teenage boy who was killed while texting and driving. I was really moved by his mom's words. I wanted to help spread the message that 'It Can Wait!' Our lives are so valuable, and we shouldn't put ourselves or others in danger just to send a message from a phone while driving," she said.
6. Douglas is religious, often tweeting Bible verses. One of her favorites: "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything."
7. She came thisclose to giving up on gymnastics. On Jan. 2, 2012, a little over a year after leaving her family in Virginia and moving to Iowa to be coached by elite trainer Liang Chow, she typed out a message on her phone for her mom to read: "Gymnastics is not my passion anymore. I want to get famous off of running track, or I want to try dancing, or become a singer. I can get a job at Chick-Fil-A in Virginia Beach and live off the 14 grand I just won at World Championships. I just want to be a normal teenage kid. I am so homesick. I just want to come home." Her mother appealed to her daughter's sense of obligation, saying, "You've got a responsibility to your teammates. … I will not let you be dishonorable. If gymnastics is not your passion, then at the very least, you will finish the season. I didn't raise you and your brother and sisters to be quitters." Two hundred and 10 days later, Douglas attempted her first vault in the London Summer Olympics.
8. Bring on the rain: Douglas' mom used to tell her that raining was "God's manifestation; a big day's waiting to happen." Rain was falling on the day Douglas won the all-around gold medal at the London Olympics. Early in the day, before competition, she actually texted her mom the following message: "It's raining. You know what that means."
9. Just five days after becoming the first African-American to win the women's all-around title in gymnastics and the first American gymnast to win that title as well as the team gold at the same Olympics, Douglas nabbed the cover of People magazine.
10. Douglas has two dogs: Zoway, a black Lab/rottie mix, and Chandler, a white Morkie (Maltese/Yorkie mix). Zoway is laid back; Chandler is rambunctious. Sadly, she had to leave them behind with her family when she moved to Iowa for training.
11. She fields Twitter shoutouts from the likes of Oprah, Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga; has met Kate Middleton; chatted with President Obama on the phone; and cemented her celeb-athlete status when she landed on the front of the Kellogg's Corn Flakes cereal box.
12. Earlier this year, she and "Twilight Saga" actress Ashley Greene co-hosted the Runway to Hope Spring Fashion Soiree in Orlando, benefiting pediatric cancer. More than 1,600 guests attended, raising more than $700,000.
13. Gear she can't live without: HypericeUSA ice compression wraps ("I use [them] all the time when I get home from practice. It really helps soothe my sore muscles.") and her Nike+ FuelBand activity tracker: "I love keeping track of my progress after I have worked out. I always challenge myself to exceed my fuel points."
14. Nicknames: Gabby; the Flying Squirrel; Brie.
15. In her Nike "Ultimate Flexibility" commercial, she opens a locked door by doing the reverse splits through a kitty flap door. It's hard to describe -- just watch it here.