The 16-year-old gymnast admits that around this time last year, she told her coaches and her family that she wanted to quit the competitions and maybe get a job at the local Chick-fil-A.
“What was I thinking?” she says now.
Luckily for her — and the rest of the world — she didn’t follow up her impulsive plan and kept tumbling her way onto the women’s gymnastics team. The rest, as the say, is history, and Gabby became the first black woman to win the individual all-around competition at the Olympics.
Since earning her gold in London, Douglas has had a life-changing autumn, culminating in a new memoir Grace, Gold, & Glory: My Leap of Faith, to be published Dec. 4.
“My life has changed so much,” Douglas tells People. “It’s been really fun.”
Her post-Olympics highlights include meeting her celebrity crush, Vampire Diaries star Ian Somerhalder, presenting at the MTV Video Music Awards, performing on Dancing with the Stars and meeting President Barack Obama!
“He was so down to earth,” says Douglas.
And through it all, Douglas has had not just her family’s support, but the friendship of the rest of the Fierce Five.
“They’re like sisters,” says Douglas of her teammates.