3-time Olympic gold medalist, Gabby Douglas, shares what and who got her through tough times

Posted at 11:45 PM, Jul 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-02 13:53:43-04

MIDTOWN, Manhattan- She flips, she flies and she fights to the finish. “They are heavy," Gabby Douglas laughed when describing her Olympic medals. "They hurt your neck after a while." Three-time Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas knows what it means to make history. "It’s like oh my gosh, I made it, all the hard work and sacrifices definitely paid off," she smiled. 

In 2012, she became the first person of color ever to win the individual all around event. "It’s just so important to just inspire people who look like me because I remember I was in their shoes," Douglas said. The now 21-year-old grew up with three siblings and a single mom, who at one point filed for bankruptcy and lived off disability benefits.

“I can’t even imagine some of the things they had do and go through to help me achieve my goal," she said. "I am so thankful for my mom and she has taught me everything." Including how to make vision boards to focus in on her dreams.“Visualization is such a huge part in what you want to achieve," she described. "For me seeing is definitely believing and achieving”

So Douglas has made it her mission to bring her passion for Post-It notes to kids across the country. Like the ones here at Publicolor“I love this one, stay true to myself and let the world adjust," Douglas read off the kids' vision board. 

The goal is to open their minds to life’s possibilities. “Just to go full throttle, who cares what the negative people say,” she said. "Whatever you want to do and whatever you want to achieve you can do it."

A mantra she lives and breathes by that comes from experience. “I was bullied online and in person," she remembered. “There’s always going to be those people that are going to want to tear you down but the thing is, you can not let them do it."

Since her historic showing and triumphant return, Douglas has been busy. From big-time endorsement deals to a reality show to her own Barbie. “I walked down Toys r Us and I was screaming I was like oh my gosh there I am," she laughed. "I  get a lot of people tweeting me pictures of their daughters oh my gosh it’s a Gabby Barbie. "

From nationwide stores to the local gym the Gabby effect can be felt. “It’s definitely changing and you’re getting a lot more color into the sport which I love," she said. "Not even just color, [it's] a lot of diversity.” To this day, Douglas still makes vision board to remind herself what’s important.

“It’s so important to me for me to always be a mentor just to add that little positivity in the world because there’s so much negativity,” she said.