When Gabby Douglas allowed herself to dream of being the Olympic champion, she imagined having a nice little dinner with family and friends to celebrate. Maybe she’d make an appearance here and there.
“I didn’t think it was going to be crazy,” Douglas said, laughing. “I love it. But I realized my perspective was going to have to change.”
Just a bit.
The teenager has become a worldwide star since winning the Olympic all-around title in London, the first African-American gymnast to claim gymnastics’ biggest prize. And now she has earned another honor.
Douglas was selected The Associated Press’ female athlete of the year, edging out swimmer Missy Franklin in a vote by U.S. editors and news directors that was announced Friday.
“I didn’t realize how much of an impact I made,” said Douglas, who turns 17 on Dec. 31. “My mom and everyone said, ‘You really won’t know the full impact until you’re 30 or 40 years old.”