When things just click

by Keisha Bell

Small changes can be the difference between mediocre and greatness. Are you ready to make a few tweaks?

Meet Gabrielle Christina Victoria Douglas, more commonly known as Gabby Douglas.  She is an American artistic gymnast, a two-time Olympian and was a member of the United States women’s national gymnastics team.  She was born on December 31, 1995.

Douglas is the first person of African descent in Olympic history to become the individual all-around champion. In addition, she is the first U. S. gymnast to win gold in both the individual all-around and team competitions at the same Olympics.

Douglas began training in gymnastics at the age of six. Although she was achieving success as a gymnast, she was not performing at her highest potential. An interesting occurrence heightened her awareness that she could be better.

At that time, Douglas was being coached by Dena Walker who invited Coach Liang Chow to teach a clinic at her gym. During the clinic, Chow taught Douglas how to perform the Amanar vault in just one afternoon. This impressed Douglas, and it confirmed in her consciousness that she was capable of more — right then.

Douglas had childhood goals to be an Olympian, and she was determined to reach them. In order to do so, she knew she needed another coach. Douglas knew that she needed to be guided by someone who not only believed that she could reach the next level but who would push her to obtain it.

“Something clicked in my head that said, ‘if I really want to make this happen I need to get better coaching,’” Douglas once said. Have you ever had an experience when the “light bulb” seemed to go off and you realized that you needed to make some life adjustments to obtain your goals? Were you bold enough to make them?

At first, Douglas considered a move to Texas to train with a renowned coach. That did not work out, however, because that coach declined to instruct Douglas out of loyalty to Coach Walker. This did not stop Douglas. She was determined to find another coach, and as a result, selected to work with Coach Chow.

After Douglas started working with Coach Chow, she suffered a hamstring strain and a hip flexor injury. It was during that time of healing that she improved her bar skills. It may have seemed disappointing at the time, but in the big picture, this helped her strengthen her all-around routine, which led to her being an individual all-around Olympic Champion.

Keisha Bell

Keisha Bell

Douglas did reach her goals after being courageous enough to make tough decisions and a few, life-altering tweaks. As a result, she has inspired people all across the world while leaving her name in history books along the way. Her story is an example of what can happen when things just click.

Be inspired.

Keisha Bell is an attorney, author and public servant. To reach Bell, email her at emergingfree@gmail.com or log on to www.emergingfree.com to view more of her work.

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