Two years after Gabby Douglas left her home and family, moving halfway across the country at 14 in search of better coaching, she's claimed the biggest prize in gymnastics.
The 16-year-old from Virginia Beach, Va., beat Viktoria Komova on Thursday to become the third straight American to win the Olympic all-around title, and first African-American. She took the lead after the first event and never relinquished it, locking up the gold with a floor exercise that had the O2 Arena rocking.
She flashed a bright grin when she finished, while her mother, siblings and the family that's taken her in and made her one of their own, shared joyful hugs. When she stood atop the medals podium, she wore a smile bright enough to outshine that pretty gold medal around her neck.