Authors: Gabrielle Douglas with Michelle Burford
Review by Grace Olson
She flies through the air and the crowd sucks in a collective breath. As her hands make contact with the bars once more, that breath is released in a deafening cheer. She did it! You may have already guessed this, but I’m speaking of Gabrielle Douglas’s uneven bar routine in the London 2012 Summer Olympics. What women’s gymnastics fan doesn’t remember the astounding heights to which Douglas flew as she represented her team and country? I have always enjoyed watching women’s gymnastics in the summer Olympics; it’s my favorite event, and along with many of the viewers from the U.S., I fell in love, so to speak, with Douglas. Her winning smile and down-to-earth personality captured our hearts, but her outspokenness about her faith is what had me intrigued. So when Grace, Gold and Glory: My Leap of Faith arrived from the library, I was eager to read about this young lady.
Contrary to what we might think, Douglas’s path to the London 2012 Summer Olympics was lined with potholes and seemingly impassable barriers, not the gilded road of ease one might have expected. Douglas’ was born on December 31, 1995, and from before the very first breath she took, her life was in peril. Douglas would later be diagnosed with a rare blood disorder when she was only a few months old. This disease would later disappear, but it seemed to be a precursor to how hard she would have to fight to accomplish her goals.
Douglas and her family have encountered many trials during her life. Her mother and father’s separation played a big role in her life financially and emotionally. At one point, not long before that memorable day when she won gold at the Olympics, Douglas wanted to give up. She almost did, too, but through faith in God, determination, and a whole lot of family support, she persevered toward her dream of going to the Olympics and winning that gold medal.
Douglas recounts her journey from being a sick, tiny baby to a double gold medalist in the Individual and Team Women’s All-Around Competition. Humorous anecdotes from her childhood stand beside the struggle, sweat, and frustration she experienced in her journey. I enjoyed getting to know Douglas better as she shared her life in Grace, Gold and Glory: My Leap of Faith. At the end of each chapter is a little thought or story about Douglas and her father, their relationship and what she wished/s it could be. These little reflections at the end of the chapters I thought were particularly insightful into Douglas’s life.
It was clear shortly after Douglas’s victory at the London 2012 Summer Olympics that she was a person of strong faith as she shared in an interview, “…I give all the glory to God. It’s kind of a win-win situation. The glory goes up to Him and the blessings fall down on me.” In her book, this was evidenced once again as she spoke of her and her mother’s faith in God. The book’s title underscores the explanation of her beliefs.
Douglas reveals the meaning behind the book’s title in this excerpt from the book.“Grace. Gold. Glory. Those three little words now have the biggest meaning for me. Grace—that’s all about how my Father’s love, mercy, and forgiveness will never (ever) run out. Gold—yes, that describes the pair of medals I will always feel so privileged to wear, but it’s also the standard we can use in how kindly we treat one another. Glory—when God shares it with us, there’s only one thing we can do: give it right back to Him.”
This teen’s understanding that the glory is not meant for her to keep, but to give back to God is refreshing. Douglas seemed a bright light to me during the Olympics as she freely spoke of her faith in God.
About the Author
Michelle Burford is a Harvard-trained journalist and a founding editor of O, The Oprah Magazine. Biography courtesy of Zondervan Publishers. To read more about Michelle, visit her website: http://michelleburford.com/index.html .
See above in this review under the section entitled The Story to read about Gabrielle or visit her website: http://gabrielledouglas.com/
I enjoyed reading about a gymnast who had caught my attention during the London 2012 Summer Olympics. Getting to know Douglas better was very cool as I went from seeing her as an Olympian to more of a real person. The book is well-written, (despite the several misprints I couldn’t help noticing), and is great read for anyone wanting a better look into this young lady’s life and faith.
Grace, Gold and Glory: My Leap of Faith is available for check-out, download, or paper copy.