U.S. women's Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas is an all-around star, whether it be winning gold medals or helping the community.
The 17-year-old became the first American gymnast ever to win the gold medal in both the team all-around and individual all-around competitions in the same Olympics in London in 2012. She was the second-youngest American ever to win the individual all-around event (16 years, 215 days).
The Virginia native has looked at the big picture after her success at the London Olympics. According to Nancy Armour of the Associated Press, via NorthJersey.com, Douglas will be an athlete ambassador in the new partnership between USA Gymnastics and Right to Play.
Right to Play has used sports and programs to improve the health and teach life skills to disadvantaged children in more than 20 countries. Now, with the help of USA Gymnastics, the United States will join that list of countries.
As Armour's report notes, childhood obesity has tripled in the past 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control. It is the partnership's aim to reverse the trend and give children an accessible outlet to stay healthy.
Douglas said, via the report:
It was a struggle for me growing up. Gymnastics and sports are really expensive. If I didn't receive grants and people helping me get to my dream, I would never have got to the Olympics.
At just 17 years of age, Douglas understands more than a lot of athletes in their 30s. She understands that she can use her stature and popularity for good, helping those less fortunate than her to pave a road to success. It shows what kind of person she is, and it shows she has already developed into a role model for young, aspiring children.
Douglas, who said she will be participating in the 2016 Olympics in Rio in an interview with Anna Lanfreschi of HLNTV.com, wasn't required to do any of this. But it's no wonder why people fell in love with her during her gold medal run, given her upbeat, positive personality.
So many athletes in a variety of sports fail to recognize the positive impact they can have not only on the youth, but also on society. Fame gets to their heads, or they become too distracted, or they simply don't think about it.
But Douglas is showing how it should be done. Remarkable that it sometimes takes a 17-year-old to remind the world.