(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Gabby Douglas is paying it forward as she ponders life after competitive gymnastics.
The three-time Olympic gold medalist and 2012 all-around champion is working with Citi Foundation to promote a mentorship program designed to get people talking about how to set goals and overcome obstacles.
As part of the program Douglas and other members of Team USA are encouraging people tweet about their goals and issues using the hashtag #StandForProgress. Douglas and other members of Team USA met with young people from across the country to talk about how to deal with challenges that arise in the pursuit of excellence. The program is a three-year, $50 million pledge by Citi to "prepare 100,000 young people for success."
Douglas and college student Hope Sauceda spent time together discussing their backgrounds and their own respective paths, which included strong family support and an internal drive that propels them forward.
“I just said picture yourself really on top and you can do it and never let fear rule you,” Douglas said. “Look fear in the eye and say 'No. Just no.’”
It’s a philosophy that pushed the 20-year-old Douglas to a second Olympic team after her rapid rise to stardom in 2012. She’s leaving Columbus, Ohio _ where she’s trained for the last two years _ to rejoin her family in Los Angeles. She’ll participate in a portion of USA Gymnastics’ post-Olympic barnstorming tour but other than that is looking forward to a break.
“Right now I'm still trying to figure it out,” she said. “I'm kind of enjoying this moment.”
While she anticipates staying involved in gymnastics in some capacity other than that she’s uncertain. Her body needs time to recover and family remains in discussion with the Oxygen Network about a second season of “Douglas Family Gold,” the reality show that chronicled her comeback. She’s turns 21 in December. It’s been a busy 16 years in the gym.
“I can't complain,” Douglas said. “I've had ups and downs, taking the positive notes on this trip and not remembering the bad ones. That's how you have to do it.”