Gabby Douglas Speaks on “Pushing the Boundaries” for WHM Keynote

3 min read

Annika Dyczkowski ’25

Sports Editor

Last Thursday, March 28, Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas paid a visit to Hartford as the Keynote speaker for Trinity’s celebration of Women’s Herstory Month. She has participated in two Olympic games and shared at the talk that she is currently training for the 2024 games in Paris. In 2012, she became the first woman of color to win a gold medal in the individual all-around, and in December of the same year she was named Female Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press. 

The talk was open to all Trinity affiliates and the general public, with much attendee representation from female Trinity students, student athletes, and young women and girls in the greater Hartford area. The event was organized by TASA (Trinity African Students Association) and Trinity’s Women & Gender Resource Action Center (WGRAC). The co-moderators of the talk were Dansowaa Adu ’24, the Vice President of the Multicultural Affairs Council (MAC) and Mary Hazelton ’24, a Chapter Coordinator for Ignite, a national organization for women’s empowerment. 

Douglas began the talk by walking through her history with gymnastics, stating she “loved challenging [her]self and pushing the boundaries.” She continues to say that gymnastics has given her a platform “to inspire other women and everyone of all cultures and genders to ‘do your thing.’”

“I want to be a good role model to everyone,” she elaborates. Douglas admits that she is continuing to figure herself out over the years, but loves being an inspiration for anyone, beyond athleticism. “It’s so interesting because gymnastics also teaches you about discipline and other factors in your life.”

Douglas touches on staying motivated and responding to setbacks in her career. “Gymnastics is very intense. I just kind of take a step back and look at everything you’ve gained versus everything you’ve lost.” Adu asked Douglas if she could offer a life lesson for the audience to take away from the discussion, and Douglas says to enjoy the process. “Enjoy every single moment along the way… medals and accolades are amazing but they don’t define you as a person.”

The moderated portion of the talk was followed by a Q&A session, opening the conversation for attendees to ask Douglas their questions. Many individuals who asked questions prefaced by adding that Douglas was their inspiration in all athletic, professional, and general settings in life, and she answered questions ranging from how she trains her mental toughness to her favorite event in gymnastics. 

“Take a step back, and know you don’t necessarily have to get to your end goal right away,” she responds to the former. She has no preference for events, and states that she loves all the events that she trains for and performs. 

Douglas will be back in Hartford in May to train for the upcoming Olympics, and leaves young women and girls with the advice to “never limit yourself to other people’s expectations.”

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