Just 14, Gabby Douglas pleaded with her mother to let her move cross country, certain a new coach could help her get to the Olympics.
Not two years after setting out on her own, Douglas beat Russia's Viktoria Komova for the all-around title Thursday night, becoming the third straight U.S. athlete to win gymnastics' biggest prize and the first African-American to do so. It was her second gold medal of the London Games, coming two nights after she and her ''Fierce Five'' teammates gave the United States its first Olympic title since 1996.
''It feels amazing to be the Olympic champion,'' Douglas said.
Puts her in a special category, too. Mary Lou Retton, Carly Patterson and Nastia Liukin are the only other Americans to win the Olympic all-around gold.
The Americans have been looking for their ''next Mary Lou'' since she won in 1984, and now they've got her in the 16-year-old Douglas. Throw in her adorable ''Flying Squirrel'' nickname and sweet backstory, and Douglas' two gold medals certainly won't be her only riches.
''I haven't thought about that,'' Douglas said. ''I just wanted to seize the moment. You have to learn how to enjoy the moment.''
Her smile alone is enough to dazzle Madison Avenue, and her personality is bigger than she is.
She's even managed to make Oprah Winfrey cry. Douglas had barely gotten off the medals stand when the talk show maven said on Twitter that she was ''so THRILLED for Gabby. Flowing happy tears!!''
Coach Liang Chow told Douglas the gold was hers after an electrifying floor routine, but she had to wait another five minutes until it was official. That's because Komova, runner-up at last year's world championships, was still to come.