Unless you’ve been living under a rock (and a huge one too), you’ve heard of Gabby Douglas. If you’re lucky you’ve actually seen this mega talented gymnast’s Olympic routine with which she made history. You can see her routine from the Olympic Trials here.
Gabby is the first USA gymnast to take home the team gold as well as an all around gold. Additionally, Gabby is the first African American woman to receive an all round gold in the sport. If her achievements by themselves are not inspiring enough, the tale of the sacrifices she made to get to her moment of golden glory is undoubtedly the clincher. At the age of twelve Gabby formed the desire to be trained by her current coach, Liang Chow. This would require her to move from her hometown in Virginia Beach to West Des Moines Iowa. In 2008 her mother stood staunchly against the move but in 2010 relented and Gabby moved some 3000 miles away from home and in with a host family in order to make her dreams a reality. Once there she endured being separated from the family she seems immensely close to, being home schooled and putting in hours upon hours of work in the gym. When asked by Savannah Guthrie about what she would like persons to know about what it took to win gold, Gabby said it best, “It took a lot of hard days in the gym and determination, passion and drive. Gold medals are made out of your sweat, blood and tears, and effort in the gym every day, and sacrificing a lot that you have to do.”
When I heard this something deep inside me clicked. It was exactly what I needed to hear. It resonated loudly and clearly. Fierce determination welled within me and I recognized it for what it was … inspiration. Athletes tend to make their sports look like it takes absolutely no effort. This facade of easiness is just a testament to their talent and preparation. It isn’t much different with writing when you think about it. When a book is good and by good I mean really good – the ‘I can’t put it down’, ‘reading it while falling asleep’, ‘finish it in a day’ sort of good it is sometimes hard to contemplate the work, passion, determination and sacrifice the author had to put in to every one of those thousands of words. It is easy to forget when the words won’t come and the plot won’t fall into place that anything, anything at all worth having must be fought for. On the road to success there will be tears (like Mr. Hudson sang), there will be struggles but those who push through are the ones who will claim victory.
Gabby decided she wanted to be an Olympian and she did everything in her power to fulfill those dreams. She put up with the hard days with determination, passion and drive. So for this year I’m going to keep Gabby’s statement etched into my brain. I’m going to set aside three hours every day for writing… no matter how hard it seems, no matter what else I have to do, no matter if I have to take it out of my sleep time. I’ve already dared to dream this dream … now it’s time to do everything in my power to make it happen.