Since she captivated the world with her gold-medal performance at the 2012 Olympics, gymnast Gabby Douglas has written two books and gotten TV gigs including a reporting job for Inside Edition at this year’s Super Bowl. But she has also had to address stories about her absent father and ludicrous debates about her hair.
Ups and downs are nothing new for the young star, as is clear in The Gabby Douglas Story, which premieres at 8 p.m. Saturday on Lifetime. The movie is one competitor’s story of determination to succeed, the kind of thing we will hear a lot of when the early rounds of the Sochi games start.
The film shows her Olympics success in brief clips of the real Douglas and her family, but focuses on the years leading up to those moments, with Douglas played by Sydney Mikayla as a child and Imani Hakim in her later years.
The movie has young Gabby, full of energy and precocious talent for gymnastics. It has her threat to quit when she grew weary of training in Iowa while her family was in Virginia. It has some mild conflict with other gymnasts, though not the degree of racism and bullying Douglas would later describe.
Even more, it has the story of Natalie Hawkins (Regina King), who struggled to meet the enormous financial demands of a gymnastics career while bringing up Gabby and three other children.
We all know how the story ends. The idea, of course, is to believe in dreams and then work hard to achieve them. It may be fine for younger viewers, but older ones will find it slight dramatically, and impressive performers like King have impressed more elsewhere.