Gabby Douglas was wrong about something. The London Olympics darling said after capturing the gymnastics all-around gold medal: “All my hard work paid off.”
Actually, her hard work is about to pay off, literally. By winning her sports ultimate prize on the world stage, the buoyant, bubbly 16-year-old almost as soon as the final scores were posted became a multi-millionaire.
Experts who study that kind of thing have already determined that Douglas could earn up to $10 million in endorsements.
Now that’s paying off.
Of course, she was not talking financial gains; she was talking about her gold medal. But the money cannot be pushed aside.
Because of her sweet nature and her remarkable performances in the Games, Douglas promises to be the most sought-after athletes from a broad range of companies seeking a relationship with such a wholesome yet dynamic worldwide personality.
Friday morning, she appeared on the Kellogg’s Corn Flakes box that will be on thousands of store shelves across the country. Also, Proctor & Gamble is a sponsor and it has released a video featuring her mother discussing her early success. That is the first of many opportunities to come her way that will rocket her bank account upwards of $10 million, according to marketing expert Dan Migala.
“The values companies look for are greatness, gold medal champions and hard work,’ Mr Migala told Forbes magazine. ‘Gabby has all of those.’
Two years ago, Douglas told her mom, Natalie Hawkins, that she wanted to move from their home in Virginia Beach, to train with Liang Chow, who coached Shawn Johnson in 2008, in Iowa.
Hawkins was taken aback. She was not interested in allowing the youngest of her four children to move away from home at 14. But Douglas’ two older sisters lobbied on her behalf, giving their mother a list of reasons why Gabby should be allowed to go.
The only reason to stay: They would miss her.
Against her better judgment, Hawkins finally relented, but not without many second thoughts. “I must have lost my marbles,” she said she thought to herself. “But she wanted this more than anything.”
Few could have imagined Douglas to be the Golden Child of the Olympics last year. Jordyn Wieber was the world champion and heavy favorite, while Douglas was the one who flopped at the national championships.
But she gained confidence as part of the U.S. team that took gold at the 2011 world championships, and she took off.
“I don’t ever recall anybody this quickly rising from an average good gymnast to a fantastic one,” said national team coordinator Martha Karolyi, who gave Douglas her ‘Flying Squirrel’ nickname.