Everybody always talks about how hard it is to be an Olympian, but few discuss the strain that Olympic glory can put on athletes' families. Many family members find themselves putting their lives on hold, all in hopes of getting their beloved brothers, sisters, sons and daughters to the Olympics.
Last week on Douglas Family Gold, we saw just how much Gabby Douglas' older sister Arielle Hawkins has had to give up in order to make her sister's Olympic dreams a reality. She's put her entire life on hold during her formative twenties, when she should, ideally, be finding her own place in the world. After a lot of soul searching, she's decided to pursue a valuable fashion industry internship, and while her mom's expressed her doubts, Hawkins has enjoyed nothing but support from her little sister, who stands to lose the most from this career development.
Hawkins discussed the job opportunity with her mom last week, and tonight, she approached Douglas. This was not an easy conversation for Hawkins, who was well aware of the adverse impact her work-related absences could have on Douglas' bid for the Olympics. Her mother had already brought up her concerns about the timing, and Hawkins seemed worried that Douglas would echo these concerns.
Some sisters would be very bothered by the thought of a chief contributor to the family business going her own way, but not Douglas — she was nothing short of supportive. In fact, Douglas' encouragement ultimately convinced Hawkins to take the job. When she announced the exciting news, a delighted Douglas jumped up and gave her big sis a much-needed hug.
Every week, I am more and more impressed by how gracious a person Douglas really is. She has always set a good example in athletic venues and on social media, but she's just as kindhearted and supportive when she's followed around by reality TV camera crews all day long. I am so glad that she cares enough about her sister to encourage her to follow her own career dreams, even if that means losing the constant presence of one of her biggest fans and advocates. I wish that Natalie Hawkins would be as supportive as Douglas, but I think she'll come around when she sees how much this really means to her fashion-minded daughter.
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