ABWW Heroine of the Day: Gabby Douglas
I love the Olympics. As a British born JAmerican, I get to cheer for four countries. Sadly, my father’s home country of Grenada is so small, I have to look up the members in order the catch the few events they compete in. This year the Olympics are in the city of my birth, so I am extra excited. The Olympics are a study in racial & gender privilege as Bryant Gumbel noted in all his lightskinded militancy, “So try not to laugh when someone says these are the world’s greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention.” African American’s are slowly integrating sports that are traditionally seen as white. The percentage of black hockey players is growing and it is only a matter of time before a brother goes for the Olympic gold. U. S. speedskater Shani Davis won a gold medal in the 2010 Winter Olympics. Vanessa James and Yannick Bonheur made waves at the last Winter Olympics as the first black couples skater.
The Summer Olympics are more democratic, but sports that cost money are still predominantly white. Gymnastics has long been the space of tiny white women. It is a sport that is defined by femininity but black women are beginning to make their mark. Gabriel Douglas hails from Virginia and moved to in West Des Moines, Iowa to train with former gymnastic champion Liang Chow. Gabby taught herself to do one handed cartwheel at the age of four and began training at the age of six. This young lady has been on a gold medal winning streak in the past few years and at the age of sixteen made this year’s Olympic team. Danielle will be following in the footsteps of Dominque Dawes, the first black person of any nationality or gender to win an Olympic gold medal in gymnastics. She will not only bring home the gold to U. S. and chip away at the stereotypes that are heaped upon black women.