Wendy Hilliard, the first African-American athlete to represent a United States team in rhythmic gymnastics, writes in a piece for CNN that the black gymnastics champion is important because of what she can teach us about our potential to reach “spectacular goals.”
It’s not only that she won the top prize in a dramatic and thrilling competition last week, featuring the top Russian gymnasts. More important is the powerful message Gabby is sending to young girls and women, especially those who are African-American, about doing what it takes to make your dreams happen. Young people need to reach for spectacular goals. This is not a message we hear often enough, and that is why is it so important.
Monday may have been not quite as golden a day for Gabby — she placed eighth in the women’s uneven bars final — but the audience did not seem at all disappointed in her performance; there was anticipation and excitement just to see her compete again. And it did nothing to diminish what she has accomplished; with her all-around victory Thursday, she created one of those iconic Olympic moments that will endure the test of time.
Gabby became the best in her sport in front of the world, and was unapologetic about doing what it took to get her there. Her family’s sacrifice, and the trust her mother showed in her daughter’s goals, could be a lesson to parents and children everywhere. The story of an African-American single mom and her daughter reaching for greatness, and succeeding, will resonate with a whole new generation.
Read Wendy Hilliard’s entire piece at CNN.
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