At just 16 years old, U.S. artistic gymnast Gabrielle "Gabby" Douglas achieved a great deal of success by becoming the first woman of color in Olympic history to win an individual all-around competition. However, she does not take credit for the talent God gave her. After overcoming homelessness and a life-threatening illness at a young age, Douglas praises God.
"It was definitely important for me to praise God because he's given me this God-given talent to go out there and represent him and share my faith with everyone," Douglas told The Christian Post. "I'm not going to hold it in because he's blessed me so much throughout my gymnastics career. He's woken me up every single morning and he's just been so great to me, so I'm going to go and share it with everyone because it's a part of me and it's just who I am."
As a Christian, Douglas said she believes whole-heartedly in God. "He is the secret of my success."
"I love sharing about my faith. God has given me this amazing God-given talent, so I'm going to go out and glorify His name," she said.
Douglas told Charisma magazine her mother raised her and her siblings in church and made sure the Word of God and prayer was a constant part of their lives. As a baby, Douglas was diagnosed with a deadly blood disease and remembers her mother crying out to God for her healing. "God answered her prayers," she said.
And even though her family was also homeless and living in a van during her childhood, she said their faith in God sustained them through their trials.
"[My faith] always plays a big role in my life," she said. "I don't know where I'd be without it today."
At the 2012 London Summer Olympics, Douglas won gold medals in both the team and individual all-around competitions. When she steps into the arena in Rio on Sunday, she'll be the first reigning Olympic champion to return to the ensuing games since Nadia Comaneci in 1980, reports Yahoo.
"My goal is still to repeat as Olympic champion. I want to defend my title in the all-around. No U.S. gymnast has ever done it before. So I aim to do the impossible," Douglas told ESPN.
"When I look back at my comeback, I'm most proud of staying with it. Whatever happens in Rio, I already feel like this comeback has been a success. I went to another world championship after being out for two years, and came in second all-around. I got to do the American Cup earlier this year -- this competition that I always wanted to do since I was a little girl. I'm already feeling successful. To have more titles under my belt would just be icing on the cake."