Life as a high school athlete is not easy, especially given how competitive sports are these days. Not only are the upper tier athletes expected to train year-round, they have to juggle AP classes, part-time jobs, family obligations and a variety of other commitments, all in the name of snagging that perfect college scholarship. With so many scheduled activities on their plate, many of today's teenage athletes give up any semblance of free time.
Now, if you think that's tough, imagine being a high school Olympian! Gabby Douglas has gone through all the same struggles of a typical high school student but with the added pressure of world-class competition. Her training is far more intense than what a traditional high school gymnast would undergo and, as a result, she's given up a lot of what most people would refer to as the quintessential high school experience. No prom, minimal socializing with her classmates... she's basically spent the entirety of her high school experience in training.
As a passionate gymnast, Douglas doesn't really mind missing out on typical high school antics. Giving up normal high school life in exchange for Olympic glory seems like a fair trade. That being said, it's natural to want to experience one or two milestones. Graduation is particularly important, and tonight on Douglas Family Gold, we saw Douglas make huge sacrifices for the sake of a cap-and-gown picture.
A typical high school student would not think twice about setting aside practice in favor of graduation, but Douglas had to think long and hard. A few short days away from training could cause real problems, and Douglas certainly didn't want to destroy the momentum she'd recently acquired. Even after she decided to grant her mom's wish, it wasn't immediately clear that she made the right choice.
Ultimately, Douglas was glad to have walked at graduation, since it made her mom so happy. I'm thrilled it all worked out, but as an outsider, it's hard to imagine living the type of life in which graduating from high school can put your livelihood in peril. I thought my high school experience was tough, but I certainly never had to deal with this type of conflict! Props to Gabby Douglas for making it all work.
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