USMagazine, Wednesday, August 1, 2012, 10:10am (PDT)
One day before Gabby Douglas -- along with her teammates Jordyn Wieber, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Kyla Ross -- made Olympics history, the 16-year-old's mom spoke to Us Weekly about her daughter's intense road to London.
"I absolutely feel like all the hard work has paid off," Natalie Hawkins shared. "I felt that way after trials when she finished and got the guaranteed spot. Total relief." (Indeed, to say Douglas' hard work has "paid off" would be an understatement -- on Monday, she and the rest of America's "Fab Five" brought home gold medals during the team finals, the first time Team USA's female gymnasts have done so since 1996.)
The Virginia resident admitted it wasn't easy to send her young daughter off to a training facility in Iowa, but "I absolutely have no regrets," Hawkins told Us. "I wish there was a gym closer . . . but the fact that she's joined with a coach who believes in her 100% and she believes in them 100% . . . that all means the world to me because she's happy."
Ultimately, Hawkins said, the medals and judges scores aren't what matter. What truly matters is that Douglas is making the most of her time in London.
"Have fun -- that's a really big thing that I always tell her," Hawkins explained of the advice she gives her teen. "This is your sport, and you love to do it, so just go out there and enjoy it. How many other times are you going to get to compete at the Olympics? Soak up every minute of it. Push out all distractions. Fear is crippling; there's nothing to be afraid of. You've trained for this moment . . . you're going to be nervous, but let it fuel and feed your desire to go out there and get what you want."
Go behind the scenes of Gabby's Us Weekly photo shoot in the video above!
Want more Olympics? Meet Team USA's families, go inside their homes (and gyms!), and more! Check out Us Weekly's Olympic collectors edition, "American Heroes," on newsstands now. Order at bn.com/usolympics.