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Olympic Champion Gabby Douglas Inspiring & Encouraging Local Gymnasts

Rise Of 'The Flying Squirrel' Has Captivated The Chelsea Piers Gymnastics Team
Gabby Douglas celebrates after winning the gold medal in the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Individual All-Around final. (credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Gabby Douglas celebrates after winning the gold medal in the Artistic Gymnastics Women’s Individual All-Around final. (credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The newest golden girl of the Olympics has transcended the sport of gymnastics for a number of reasons.

As the first African-American to win gold in the all-around, Gabby Douglas’ story is serving as encouragement to local gymnasts of all ages.

LINK: Latest From The 2012 London Games

“We watched her and now that I see her on TV doing such amazing skills, it’s like ‘Wow, I could get that good some day,'” one 14-year-old on the gymnastics team at Chelsea Piers told 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon.

1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon Reports From Chelsea Piers

Some of the young gymnasts there said they were not just inspired by Douglas’ prowess on the bars, but her whole story of how she defied the odds.

Two years ago, Douglas decided to fully commit to her dream, moving 1,200 miles away from her family to mold her talent in Iowa, despite being homesick, CBS 2’s Steve Overmyer reported.

“I think that, like, her story showed how much she’s committed to gymnastics — to even move away from her family, to move into another house to specifically work on what she really loves to do,” one 12-year-old at Chelsea Piers said.

“It made me like wanna work hard ’cause she moved away from her family and I probably wouldn’t do that — even though I would really want to — but I would also wanna be supported with my mom and dad,” another aspiring gymnast added.

The 16-year-old Douglas has enjoyed a meteoric rise from virtual unknown to being congratulated by name by President Barack Obama.

That rise of the girl nicknamed “The Flying Squirrel” was seen firsthand by some members of the Chelsea Piers team when they met Douglas at a competition two years ago.

chelsea piers gynastics Olympic Champion Gabby Douglas Inspiring & Encouraging Local Gymnasts

The gymnastics team at Chelsea Piers. (credit: Sonia Rincon, 1010 WINS)

“We saw her working out — she was amazing.  We could tell she was very focused and she’s very dedicated,” one girl told 1010 WINS’ Rincon.

The golden moment for Douglas is just getting started. She was chosen to be on the cover of Corn Flakes. She joins historic Olympians such as Mary Lou Retton, and the Magnificent Seven as the new darling of the Summer Games.

How have you been inspired by Gabby Douglas?  Let us know in the comments section below…