Olympics golden girl Gabby Douglas called marketer's dream

U.S. gymnast Gabrielle Douglas performs on the balance beam during the artistic gymnastics women's individual all-around competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012, in London. AP Photo/Gregory Bull

(CBS News) American Gabby Douglas won the top prize in women's gymnastics Thursday. Nicknamed the "Flying Squirrel," she soared through four events to win the women's individual all-around final.

Douglas cried as she was declared the winner.

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In just a matter of months, the 16-year-old has gone from a virtual unknown to being recognized by Oprah Winfrey on Twitter, and even President Obama on the campaign trail.

Olympic fame may really pay off for the young gymnast -- the first African-American to make the U.S. women's gymnastics team since her idol, Dominique Dawes, in 1996.

Media consultant Joe Favorito says Douglas is a marketer's dream who could easily rake in millions.

He said, "As a 16-year-old, she has really got kind of the sky is the limit. She brings so many intangibles that marketers look for. She's young. She's fresh. She's a new face. ... America is looking for heroes. We went into this looking for Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte and we are going to come out of it with a new gymnastics face, and that's terrific."

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But Dawes, a member of the gold-winning so-called "Magnificent Seven," acknowledged to CBS News the challenges that come with Olympic fame that Douglas is likely to face.

Dawes said, "Gabby will have similar experiences as I did, where she will not be able to go anywhere without being recognized, and people are amazing. People are going to be thanking her profusely for the impact that she's made, and I pray that she uses it wisely."

Dawes added that Douglas can expect endorsement deals to begin pouring in. She said, "(Gabby is) going to start quickly recognizing that she's a business, she's a brand, and she should be very selective in the people she surrounds herself with and the opportunities she decides to take."

But Douglas is still savoring her victory. Following her win, Douglas tweeted, "Wow such an AMAZING experience! Thank you all for your support, love and prayers love you all!!!"

Douglas still has two more chances to win Olympic medals. She's qualified for the event finals in the uneven bars and balance beam.

Her win comes after years of training with the best in the sport. But it didn't come without hardship.

According to her mother, Gabby Douglas showed promise at a very early age, doing "perfectly straight cartwheels." Two years ago, the bubbly teenager decided to fully commit to her dream, moving 1,200 miles away from her family to mold her raw talent in Iowa.


At one point, the homesickness was almost too much, but Douglas' mom wouldn't let her give up.

In an advertisement by Procter & Gamble, Douglas recalled saying, "'Mom, I mean, c'mon -- you're supposed to be on my side on this one, you're supposed to let the baby come home,' but she said, 'Nope, life is not easy, you have to fight and just refuse to quit."'

That determination helped catapult her to gold.

  • Terrell Brown

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