As the Olympics come to a close, we reminisce on the last 17 days of tears, hard work, and most importantly, gold medals. It goes without saying that one of the most exciting sports to watch is gymnastics, with all that flipping and flying. Her Campus got a chance to catch up with Olympian Gabby Douglas to chat about how exactly the experience has been for her. Although it was not her first rodeo, it was definitely one for the books.
Going into Rio, was there anything you wanted to do differently than your last experience at the Olympics?
Gabby Douglas: Not really. For me, I always thought about approaching it the same way I did London and go out there to really enjoy the experience, have fun and stay confident.
How does competing against your best friends impact your relationships with them? Particularly after Simone and Aly moved on to the All-Around competition and you were held back. Is there any negative energy in the group? Or is it more of "we will always be a team no matter what"?
GD: Competing with my best friends is amazing. For me personally, the team competitions are always the most fun. But we always have each other’s backs. Fall or make it, we are still there for each other and encourage each other along the way. It’s so much fun!
What attracted you to your partnership with Venus? And real talk, do you shave right before every competition? (Because tbh, your legs are perfect!)
GD: Venus has been in my shower for as long as I can remember and I am so excited to be their new ambassador for the #MovesLikeNoOther campaign. I’m happy to partner with a brand that shares my passion for inspiring women to reveal their most confident, beautiful selves and show off their moves like no other. And yes, I HAVE to shave before every competition because I wear a leotard. Cameras are HD, so my legs need to be flawlessly smooth!
In Rio, do you get a lot of time to socialize with the other athletes? Is there anyone you have met that you fangirled over?
GD: Yes, we socialize! In the Olympic Village, there are different athletes from each county and from each sport. We like to pin-trade because it’s a great way to start a conversation and meet other athletes. The coolest was seeing Usain Bolt walking around in the village.
How does your mindset change from a smaller competition to the Olympics? How do you stay calm under pressure?
GD: I like to treat every competition like it’s the Olympics. Every competition is so important, especially leading up to the Games, because if you can handle the small stuff and stay cool under pressure, you can handle the big stuff.
What's the first thing you do after you are done competing for the day in Rio? Is there something special you like to eat? A special pair of sweat pants you crawl right into?
GD: Eating! I’ve enjoyed some pizza and ice cream post-competition.
Do you have a favorite story from Rio so far that you can share with us? Any hilarious moments with your teammates that no one knows about?
GD: We were in the airport on our way to Rio and saw a Cinnabon. We broke away and went on a secret mission to get some by ourselves. But security radioed in and our coaches found us trying to hide! It was hilarious – we wanted to be secretive, but it’s just not possible with all of us together!
What's next for you? Do you want to compete on a collegiate level? What are your next big goals after the games are over?
GD: It’s a little weird going from training every day and competing to right now. We just finished two days ago, so I don’t know what it’s like not to train! I’m still in Rio working, and then am heading back to NY for a tour. So right now, lunch is next for me, and then I’ll go from there.
In other words, Gabby Douglas is just like us... except with more gold medals and better abs.