With 48 of 157 votes from a national panel of Associated Press sports editors, Gabby Douglas was named the Female Athlete of the Year.
Douglas told AP: “I didn’t realize how much of an impact I made. My mom and everyone said, ‘You really won’t know the full impact until you’re 30 or 40 years old.’ But it’s starting to sink in.”
This has been a whirlwind year for the home-schooled sophomore from Virginia Beach, Va., as Douglas became the first African-American woman to win the coveted all-around Olympic gold medal during the 2012 London Olympics, and in October she won the Women’s Sports Foundation 2012 Sportswoman of the Year Award.
Gabby Douglas, 16, has also persevered through the private bullying of teammates, she has said, and the public debate about her simple pulled-back hairstyle.
Douglas is currently working with Chow Gymnastics, in Des Moines, Iowa.