Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas is set to take the stage at the Oval Theater in the Marshall Student Center on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. As of Tuesday night, 469 people had reserved seats at March’s installment of the University Lecture Series (ULS).
The event will be moderated by Mónica Lee Miranda, the Director of the Center for Student Involvement at USF.
Douglas might be best known for her performance in the 2012 London Summer Games.
At age 16, Douglas became the first woman of color of any nationality and the first African-American gymnast in Olympic history to win the gold medal in the individual all-around competition.
Douglas did that after she and her teammates, nicknamed the “Fierce Five,” won gold in the team event earlier in that Olympics.
Douglas’ online bio describes the Olympic gold medalist as flipping around her house and off furniture as young as 4 years old before she started her formal training.
At 8 years old, Douglas won the level four all-around gymnastics title at the 2004 Virginia State Championships.
Even though Douglas won another team gold medal in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympic Games, she was met with disapproving remarks on the internet.
“Why wasn’t Gabby Douglas Smiling at Rio?” was one headline that stood out.
In 2017, Douglas went public about having been sexually abused by Larry Nassar, a former doctor for USA Gymnastics.
Douglas has since taken on speaking engagements like her appearance with ULS. Her Twitter feed is full of motivational quips.
“the comeback is always stronger than the setback,” reads one Tweet. (https://twitter.com/gabrielledoug/status/1093194372131090432)
“scars remind us where we’ve been. they certainly don’t have to dictate where we’re going,” reads another. (https://twitter.com/gabrielledoug/status/1093599673053372417)
According to The Greyhound, the primary Loyola University news source, Douglas’ message to that audience in November served to encourage listeners to dream and pursue their passions while remaining true to their values and morals.
“Gymnastics is what you do—not who you are,” Douglas said at Loyola.