Since Gabby Douglas became the first African-American woman to win a gold in all-around gymnastics at the 2012 Summer Olympics, it has been hard to fathom that she is just 16 years old. The teenager spoke to Essence about her success, the encouraging messages she’s received from President Obama and Oprah and whom she looks up to.
ESSENCE.com: You seem so calm when you’re competing. And you take all this attention in stride. Are you naturally calm or are you just in your zone?
DOUGLAS: I’m definitely in my zone — in my own bubble. I’ve learned how to stay humble. I don’t want to get in over my head because when you do that it takes you off your game.
ESSENCE.com: All of our ESSENCE.com readers are in awe of you and your talent. Who in the public eye do you think is amazing?
DOUGLAS: I’m not gonna lie, I love Usain Bolt and Serena Williams. What I love about Serena is that she just gets on the floor and she dominates. She handles her business very well, I respect that.
ESSENCE.com: What famous folks would you love to meet?
DOUGLAS: I would love to meet Venus and Serena. I’d also love to go on the red carpet and be like, “Hey, everyone!”
Read more at Essence.