Gabby Douglas: Impact Far Beyond Sports

Loose Ball: She might inspire more black girls to try gymnastics, but that's not the big picture.

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

“Letting go of Gabrielle [was] one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life,” Hawkins said. “But it’s now one of the most rewarding things that I’ve ever gotten to experience … there’s no greater joy than for a parent to see their child reach their dream.”

Children can dream a little broader now, seeing themselves in places and positions that they might not have believed beforehand. It doesn’t have to be the Olympics, either, just fields that they never thought of before.

It’s kind of like President Obama’s influence. Not everyone inspired by him will run for the White House, but his election provides fuel for their journey, no matter which destinations they choose. Gabby and other black Olympians in predominantly white sports have the same impact, forcing us to shatter subconscious boundaries.

We know we’re better at other things besides, say, basketball, track and field and rap music. But few have provided more evidence on a bigger stage than Gabby. The ripple effect will be felt for decades to come, in ways we can’t even imagine.

Deron Snyder’s Loose Ball column appears regularly on The Root. Follow him on Twitter and reach him at BlackDoor Ventures, Inc.

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