PEMBROKE — Olympic gold medal gymnast Gabby Douglas will appear at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke’s Givens Performing Arts Center on Feb. 25 as part of the UNCP’s Distinguished Speaker Series.
The event, which is free and open to the public, begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are required and can be obtained from the GPAC Box Office the evening of the event or in advance by calling 910-521-6361. Seating will be general admission with doors opening at 7 p.m.
Douglas vaulted to fame in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London by winning the gold medal in the team and individual all-around competitions. Along the way, she achieved several firsts, including the first black to win Olympic gold in gymnastics and first American gymnast to win gold in both the gymnastic all-around and team competitions at the same Olympic Games.
Her gold medals thrust Douglas into the spotlight. She appeared on the covers of Time, Jet, People and Sports Illustrated magazines and was a guest on “Oprah,” “David Letterman,” “The Tonight Show” and more.
It will be an evening of conversation about living a life of gymnastics, the Olympic experience, lessons from the road to being a champion, and her place in history. The program will be in an interview or question-and-answer format, and Douglas will take questions from the audience at the end.
Douglas, who is 17, is from Virginia Beach, Va. She was introduced to gymnastics at age 4 by her sister. At 14, Douglas left home to train with coach Liang Chow and pursue an Olympic dream.
Since leaving home, Gabrielle has earned a team gold at the 2011 World Championships, placed first at the 2012 Olympic Trials, earning the only guaranteed spot on the Olympic team, 2012 Olympic team gold and the 2012 women’s gymnastics Olympic all-around title.
Douglas plans to compete in the 2016 Olympics to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
UNCP’s Office of Student Involvement and Leadership is sponsoring the event. Director Mike Severy said bringing an Olympic champion to campus is a winning idea.
“A group of faculty, staff and students culled a list of more than 250 speakers,” Severy said. “The students and the local gymnastics community are thrilled to have Douglas come to campus.
“There has been a lot of interest on campus, and we’re expected a good turnout,” he said. “Her story touches a variety of topics, and the evening with her will be educational and inspirational. We’re really looking forward to having her with us.”
For information, call the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership at 910-521-6482.