Movie Review: The Gabby Douglas Story

We all know the happy ending to The Gabby Douglas Story, the Olympic all-around gold medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Despite this the movie is very entertaining and will keep the spectator interested until the very end. The following review contains excerpts that might be considered “spoilers” so only continue to read if you want to know more specific details about the movie or just watch the movie trailer HERE.

The movie begins with Gabby Douglas’ birth on December 31st 1995 in Virginia Beach. The youngest of four children, she was born into a crumbling marriage that was going through severe financial problems. Her parents’ separation when she was a toddler marks the last appearance of her father throughout the movie.

The movie jumps to 2002 a moment where the family is in a much better condition financially and a time where Gabrielle is a restless child tumbling around the house breaking everything on her path. Throughout the movie Gabrielle is constantly nicknamed “Brie” or “Breezy”.

Again the movie jumps forward to 2008 where a junior Gabrielle Douglas looks up at rising star Shawn Johnson and her coach Liang Chow. As the movie advances Gabrielle becomes determined in training with Chow particularly as she feels her current coaches do not believe in her. Her journey into getting the opportunity of training with Liang Chow is perhaps the major theme of the movie.

Finally in September of 2010, days after winning the uneven bars gold medal at the 2010 PanAmerican Championships, she started training with Chow far away from home in Iowa. The first day she arrives at Chow’s Gymnastics Gabrielle tells Liang Chow her dream is to go to the Olympics. Chow in response remarks that so is the dream of every single girl in his training hall and that the Olympics are only 22 months away.

Gabrielle praises Liang Chow by mentioning that under his tutelage skills she never dreamed of performing became second nature to her. The 2011 U.S. Nationals are marked as the beginning of the final road into the Olympic Trials but Gabrielle is shown getting injured days before the start of the competition.

The injury somehow tries to justify her poor showing on beam at the 2011 Nationals where she fell three times during the first day of competition and then needed two attempts to dismount in the second day of Nationals. The U.S. has so much depth that inconsistency is an unforgivable trait for a gymnast trying to make an Olympic Team and at the time she had no reputation to even cushion her falls from the beam as she was a new senior. Because of this the fact that she made the 2011 World Team is even more impressive. Still no one would have imagined then that Gabrielle could rise as high as an Olympic All-Around Gold Medalist.

Her performance on beam at the first day of the 2011 U.S. Nationals is shown in the movie with a subsequent questioning on Gabrielle’s part of whether she wants to continue in the sport or not, once she’s decided the movie jumps to her glorious moments in London.

The Gabby Douglas Story is a T.V. movie that aired in Lifetime in early 2014, Gabrielle was barely 18 at the time and there was still a lot to come in her gymnastics career. She returned to the sport but not under Liang Chow’s tutelage as she chose Buckeye Gymnastics in Ohio as her new home.

Her comeback into the international scene was at the 2015 World Championships where she won a silver medal in the all-around therefore becoming the first Olympic All-Around Gold Medallist to earn a World All-Around medal at a subsequent World Championships since 2000 Olympic Champion Andreea Raducan won bronze at the 2001 Worlds.

Even more, despite a rocky participation at the Olympic Trials where she fell from the beam on both days, she was selected as part of the 2016 Olympic Team, therefore making her the first Olympic All-Around Champion to return for a second Olympics since Nadia Comaneci, the darling of the 1976 Olympic Games, returned for her second Olympiad in Moscow.

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