One rotation of the Olympic gymnastics women's all-around competition. Gabrielle Douglas. Two rotations: Gabrielle Douglas. Three rotations: Gabrielle Douglas. Four rotations later, rotations which require precision, strength, uneven bars that ask for daredevil will and the desire to fly, skinny balance beams that beg an athlete to fall off, floor exercises that have boundaries not easy to respect.
"Flying squirrel" is not an appropriate name for the 16-year old Ms Douglas. She is the U.S.'s Flying Princess and Sports Championship Royalty.
Gabby began competing as a level four gymnast in 2003 and moved through her compulsory levels quickly. More than ready for the 2012 Olympics in London, England, Ms Douglas qualified as an international elite gymnast in 2008, and the rest is herstory.
Gabrielle Douglas was born on December 31, 1995 in Virginia Beach, VA. When Gabrielle was 3 years old, her older sister, Arielle - a former gymnast, taught her how to do a perfectly straight cartwheel. By the age of 4, Gabrielle had taught herself how to do a cartwheel with one hand.
Gabrielle started formal gymnastics training at Gymstrada in October of 2002 at age 6. Just two years later she went on to become 2004's Virginia State Champion.
At age 14, Gabrielle left Virginia Beach and her family behind to train with elite coach, Liang Chow, in West Des Moines, IA. Gabby lives with a host family, the Partons, where she now plays big sister to their four girls. The Partons also have a daughter that trains with Chow.
Under Coach Chow's tutelage, Gabby competed in her first elite meet at the 2010 Covergirl Classic in Chicago, IL. That same year, she also competed in the Nastia Liukin Supergirl Cup, where she placed fourth in all-around.
Gabby made her senior debut in 2011. She qualified to her first Senior National Championships in St. Paul, MN. At nationals, Gabby became the 2011 Bronze Medalist on Uneven Bars and earned a spot on the 2011-2012 Senior National Team.
This past June, Gabby competed in the VISA Championships and finished second in all-around, just two tenths of a point behind the leader. She also won a bronze medal for her floor routine and a gold medal for her uneven bars routine.
Gabby went on to compete at the Olympic Trials in San Jose, CA. She came away with the only guaranteed spot on the Olympic Team by winning the competition.
Until this year, Douglas was relatively unknown. Even U.S. women's team coordinator Martha Karolyi said Douglas has climbed to the top rapidly. "I don't ever recall anybody this quickly rising from an average, good gymnast to a fantastic one," Karolyi said. "It has been so amazing to see."
She had already helped lead the U.S. team to gold.
Today, Gabrielle Douglas made history with her all-around gold in gymnastics on Thursday. With that win, she became the first American to win a team and all-around gold, and the first African-American to win the all-around gold.
And Douglas still has two more chances for medals. She has qualified for uneven bars and balance beam event finals.
But first? "I want to celebrate," Douglas said, "with my families."