Gabrielle Douglas, who walked away with the gymnastic gold at the London Olympics, is out with her first book: “Grace, Gold & Glory: My Leap of Faith.” Douglas, who turns 17 on New Year’s Eve, talked with Religion News Service about her prayer life, her love of matzo ball soup and overcoming homesickness to make it to the Olympics.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Q: Everyone knows you as a gold medal Olympic gymnast, but how do you define yourself as a young woman of faith?
A: Faith plays a very big role in my life. I don’t know where I would be without it today. I’ve always been praying for everything. And my mom always exposed me and my siblings to being a Christian and the Bible. I was watching back and looking at the Olympics and my mouth is moving — and that’s me praying.
Q: How did your faith get you through preparing for difficult gymnastic maneuvers like the uneven bars?
A: The Scriptures motivate me and I use them to help me overcome circumstances like practices and competitions. If I’m having trouble with a skill: “I can do all things in Christ that strengthens me.” Or sometimes I get a little nervous: “Do not fear; always believe.”
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