Thursday, May 31, 2012

Get Gabby Douglas to London: A Good Life Decision?



Gabby Douglas' mother has started a fundraising campaign to get the family to London for the Olympic Games.  While her daughter is an excellent bar worker, she has an up and down competitive record on the other events.  Gabby already raised eyebrows when she went pro after the World Championships.  Her announcement was delayed until after the American Cup, but it was certainly risky.  Gabby is expressive and being one of the few female African-American Olympians in a high-profile summer sport, there is certainly room for her to stand out from the crowd.  Her gymnastics is dynamic and her releases high-flying.

Yet, it is never wise to openly fund raise prior to making a team.  It is bad form and looks a bit tacky, especially when there are articles from your old gym wanting money for previous free lessons because they actually thought they could get you to the top in Martha's world.  Gymnastics coaches aren't always the most savvy.  Gabby's chances are better than oft-injured Shayla Worley's were, but those were thought to be in bad taste.  Luckily Gabby's mother didn't call her a shoo-in, though it is certainly implicit in the campaign.  Call me superstitious, but I'd never count my chickens before they hatch in Martha's world, especially when my daughter had an Amanar to nail and a huge piked tkatchev that goes straight up and down reminiscent of a release performed by Jennifer Sey at the 1985 World Championships.

All that said, parents of Olympians need to have a less stressful way of getting to the Olympics, lodging, airfare, etc.  It is a once in a lifetime experience.  P+G is sponsoring pampering for the mothers and family members.  Why not sponsor hotel rooms or plane tickets?  It is now reported that unused donations will go to Military Kids.  Perhaps Gabby won't be a pretend Olympian like Shayla if it all goes downhill.

47 comments:

  1. what does it mean when gymnasts go pro? i know in skating it means you can no longer go to the olympics.

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  2. This is silly. I'm sure they will raise some money, but the request will also put people off because Gabby hasn't made the team yet. If they were to wait until she made the team, more people would be likely to support the cause even if they had less time to raise the money.
    But that goes without saying. I think the worst part of this is the implicit pressure it puts on Gabby herself- that her own family EXPECTS her to make the team. She's an amazing gymnast, but she still has a reputation for not handling the pressure of a big moment. This move could backfire because it adds more pressure to what she must already feel.

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  3. I love Gabby as a gymnast. She comes across as a really sweet girl. However, this act by her mother is TACKY. Gabby has not even made the team yet. I hope she will, and she has a really good chance, but still don't put the cart before the horse.

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    1. Her mother married the same man twice. I doubt this is in the top five of the tacky things she has done in her life.

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    2. The were all pretty loud and tacky at Visa's last year. Sure maybe they were excited but geez man settle it down.

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    3. at least it was the same man

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  4. I'd rather give my money to a gymnast who decided not to go pro so she can go to NCAA. Sorry Gabby, you chose to go pro, have your agent secure some ads or something for you to do to get money.

    9:51- going pro means you can make and keep the money that you get for doing commercials, photoshoots, wining meets, ect. When you go pro, you can still go to the Olympics but cannot compete in college gymnastics.

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    1. WORD. The whole point of going pro is to give you the ability to make money from the sport, and that money would directly go to traveling to the Olympics.

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    2. "Anonymous May 31, 2012 10:08 AM
      I'd rather give my money to a gymnast who decided not to go pro so she can go to NCAA. Sorry Gabby, you chose to go pro, have your agent secure some ads or something for you to do to get money."

      THIS. Isn't that the whole point of going pro - so you get money now? It's not like Shawn in 2008 was all, "I'm a poor Iowa farm girl, pay for my parents to go to Beijing..." She had to pop her Ortega taco with the Hamm twins for that.

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    3. Then again, Shawn had titles. An unofficial win at the American Cup doesn't count.

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    4. Good point. Why did Gabby go pro again? *SIGH*

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    5. I think it is more appropriate for an athlete who has turned pro to receive donations than someone who plans to compete NCAA, like Worley. It almost seems like it would be an NCAA violation to receive money for donation purposes. Gabby hasn't been pro very long and hasn't had the time to pile up a list of sponsors.

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    6. @Catty Comments

      I DIE at you're post @11:44am about Shawn poppin her taco. Thank you for making this boy laugh on an ugly midwest evening!!

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  5. thanks for the explanation anon 10:08 :)

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  6. Wow AJ. The shade of it all. Considering the team is not named until right after trials which is only a few weeks before the Games there won't be much time to fund raise. You have to make plans and reservations well before a few days of the game. Plus, they have said that if she doesn't make the team, all money will be donated to Our Military Kids Org (www.ourmilitarykids.org). Gabby received a grant from this organization towards her gymnastics experience when she competed in the Jr Olympic program. So, it would be her way of giving back in the unlikely event she doesn't make the team. So I have no issues giving know it'll go to a charitable cause no matter the outcome for Gabby.

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    1. I mentioned the charitable donation if she doesn't make it. I'm discussing the dilemma of a superstitious Jewess.

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    2. Because we all know that when someone says they will donate something to charity that means that they really will?

      For every $1.00 donated, only a nickle gets to where it is supposed to go.

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    3. A lot of times gymnasts who make the team will fundraise at their gym or with local buisnesses. Mccool famously got a radio sation to play achy breaky heart constantly until her family raised the money

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  7. I don't think its at all bad to fundraise. They find out only 4 weeks before the Olympics-- London in any July is expensive. London in July during the Olympics-- its crazy expensive. Many of the national team members obviously come from very rich families and have the funding for a trip to London. But, Gabby's doesn't have the same financial circumstances . Right now, the average plane ticket to London in July is an costs $1000. By 1 July, expect the ticket price to be easily $1500, if not higher. So they are looking at $3-5000 in plane tickets for her siblings, her mom is covered by P&G. Plus, what about her host family, I certainly hope they can go. They have sacrificed a lot as well.

    And for those who criticize her for going pro, seriously? Why wouldn't you go pro. NCAA scholarship is not the only way to get a college scholarship. Gabby comes from a military family, additionally, she is eligible for minority scholarships. Believe me, she will be just fine if an when she chooses to go to college. And-- who is to say she still wanted to compete NCAA when she made the decision to go pro. She might have a shot at Rio, she is only 16. Anyway, one advertising campaign could easily equal that NCAA scholarship money.

    She will likely make a lot of money by going pro, she has the right look and personality. But only after the Olympics. (Since she isn't Jordyn Wieber, current world champion). Her family needs the money before the Olympics. There is nothing tacky about supporting your daughter's dream. Its admirable.

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    1. Also, she may want to go to a school that doesn't have a gymnastics team. In fact, I went to Pricneton and Ivy League schools don't even offer athletic scholarships. So, going pro would be smart so she could save that money to pay for her education.

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    2. I think the point is not that Gabby went pro, it's that she went pro so soon. I think you can make a lot of decisions based on what you HOPE will happen, but compromising your daughter's ability to pay her way through college when a. she isn't named to an Olympic team, b. even if she is named she has to do damn well when she gets there to get endorsements and make money for college etc. and c. she has no world medals, no titles, no nothing and d. she's an African American in a sport where 9 girls out of 10 are white. I wish that didn't matter, but I can totally see big companies looking for cute white gymnasts for endorsements over an African American gymnast unless she is AMAZING at the Olympics. Is it fair? No. Is it racist? Sure. But that's how it is.

      Gabby's family have a reputation for not having any money and she seems like their meal ticket. I hope she is in a way, but even successful Olympic team members have walked away poor and in debt. I think Gabby will be one of these girls.

      Also re: ivy league...it's pretty rare for gymnasts who compromised their high school education to go to an ivy league school. Not unheard of, but rare.

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  8. I can see the racism permeating from some of the comments above. I've never seen anyone comment on the obnioxsly loud cheering section that Chellsie Memmel has had past nationals and trials.

    ...and who her mom marries should be no of your business. Just as with who AJ chooses to marry, assuming he isn't and wants to.

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    1. Not every criticism of Gabby is racist.

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    2. The comment about Gabby's mother marrying the same man twice being tacky was ridiculous. Whoever wrote that should get back in their time machine, clutch their pearls and head back to the single room school house you've been teaching at out on the prairie.

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  9. How many tickets do the organizers set aside for parents of the gymnasts? Every team has 5 girls, 2 for each girl would be 10, 8 teams in the final means around 80 family/friends. Do the girls get tickets to give away if they make the team? Tickets for the Olympics have been on sale for a while so I'm pretty sure most of the events are sold out, unless they hold some for the family of the athletes.

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    1. AFAIK it depends on the country and the policy of their National Olympic Committee - the USOC will get a certain number of tickets and it is then up to them to distribute. However, there has been a big problem in the GB team as this time athletes have only been given 1 confirmed ticket per session. And the ticket sales process in the UK has been utterly shambolic, for popular sports (cycling, gymnastics, swimming especially) in particular there is a VERY real problem for families getting hold of tickets. As it stands at the moment, LOCOG has very limited availability (supposedly) for MAG (at £450 per ticket) but none at all for WAG and RG has been sold out for months

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  10. But they inherently are. Whether overt or subconscious, these things I've never ever heard discussed about another gymnast. It portrays that a loud, rowdy group is tackier than the obnoxiuos screaming Chellsie Memmel crew. I've been to nationals and the Memmel crew is deep and very, very loud. And the discussion about who Gabby's mom is unwarranted. All of this is irrelevant IMO.

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    1. Marrying the same person twice is eye opening regardless of race.

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    2. "Anonymous May 31, 2012 1:16 PM
      But they inherently are. Whether overt or subconscious, these things I've never ever heard discussed about another gymnast."

      Then you haven't been following gymnastics for very long. Describing gym parent(s) as tacky, leading loud cheering sections, who the parents married/dated etc. - all common topics of discussions over the years. Different quad, same kvetching. Before it happened on the gymnternets, it happened in the gym parent gossip network at every large meet.

      That said, I hope Gabby makes it to the Olympics. She is a great gymnast and seems like a good kid.

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    3. First, I'm not black. I'm white so that just shows people's prejudices based on the assumptions of my comment. Saying black people should shut up is just vile. Secondly, I was gymnasts from the age of 3 and I've been around the gym for years. I've never heard the venom people are spewing on here. Not sure what's so sad in your lives to lead you to that but I'm content with my place in life and I don't need to. It's easy and pathetic to not address the issues in your life and hide behind the veil of anonymity while you blasts hatred. Not sure what gabby and her family did to you but let it go and focus on your life lot.

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  11. Wouldn't you think that families already had to book hotel rooms and buy tickets to the events? Ive heard most hotels in London are already sold out. Its would be great if she could ask for donations now but not cash any check or debit any credit card until Gabby is named to the team. That seems fair but donors also understand the risk they are taking too. I can see both sides of this argument. There is hardly any time between trials and Olympics this cycle and it is super expensive. Plus, Im sure these families are always paying to attend Visas and Trials as well prior to even going to London. Now if Gabby has already made enough endorsement $, then def tacky!!

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    1. This. I watch the documentary on the 2008 British gymnastics team and all of the families of the top 10 girls who MIGHT get picked for the team had bought tickets, airfares and booked hotels well in advance of the announcement of the team. I imagine the families of the girls who didn't make it cancelled the hotel and airline tickets (with penalties) and sold their tickets to the events to other parents or the internet etc. It would be heartbreaking to be a parent of an Olympian and miss their big moment!

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  12. This is ridiculous. Haters are going to hate no matter the situation. If she had not gone professional, people would be saying she should have gone professional to afford the cost of travel. Sadly, going professional in gymnastics is not like going pro in basketball, football or baseball. There is no league minimum of like $500K. Even some professional tennis players barely make $20K (if that) when they first go professional. If you want to donate, donate. If you don't, then don't--and ultimately it'll have very little impact on your life. Move on.

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  13. Gabby wouldn't be giving back if she gave money to the military kids. SHE DIDN'T MAKE THE MONEY, Stupid fans donated it.

    This is Shayla-esque

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  14. Black people need to shut up. All you ever do is whine when you don't get something and blame it on racism. That is why no one believes you anymore.

    Gabby is taking money when she is a pro. She is scum and she knows what she is doing so stop blaming her mother.

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    1. You know, I don't think that the discussion of her mom/family/tackiness is anything different than run of the mill gymfan bitchiness.

      So I want to thank you for putting an example of actual racism out there for everyone to see.

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  15. So who are all the rich girls? I know our family may be better off than some of the other kids in our gym but we aren't rich. Gymnastics costs are something we take into consideration and if we were out of work our kid would need to stop. I just read Unfavorable Odds by Kim Hamilton and I think of all the sacrifices her family made without a secure job like military pay. (Seriously, who is "wealthy" on national team? I'm curious.)

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    1. Not to mention those families are actually paying for their kids to train and compete, unlike Gabby's mom. This is just another case of wanting other people to pay her way.

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  16. While were on the subject of tackiness and Memmel. Where the H did she get the money for the big old stretch Hummer with M and M written all over it that was waiting for her and her entourage outside the UIC Paviillin? She certainly didn't get that money from endorsements.

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    1. Chellsie drives a hummer? Ewwww! I knowwas her endorsementsto suck compared to nastiathe and shawnI who bothis have toto be worth millions but chellsieI has thea house.I am guessing she gets some money from her parents because she helps coach at her gym

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  17. it's pretty much a sure thing gabby is going to the olympics, even if she makes mistakes

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  18. @5:36 I'm guessing you've never heard of a little place called GGMB?

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  19. Raisman (who got a Range Rover for her 16th birthday) and Weiber both seem like they come from pretty well off families. And the Liukins are doing well - even before Nastia won the Olympics, Valeri is a very successful businessman. Former gymnast here, and while there are certainly exceptions, most gymnasts I knew came from well off families, especially at the advanced level. Training fees plus travel expenses and everything in between is not cheap. My parents were paying about $800 a month in training and travel for me as s L10 and this was in the late 90s. I can't imagine what the costs look like now. The sport has become much more blingier, for lack of a better term.

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  20. most high level athletes spend 20-50,000 a year.

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  21. Aly's family is doing QUITE well...multimillion dollar mansion and all... and w/ Memmel- renting a stretch hummer for a few hours is only around $600-$800 so not breaking the bank really and if she thought it may be her last meet, she probably wanted to leave in style. Jordyn's family seems well off too, but others like Vega are mostly middle class and sacrificing a lot to make it work (all the families sacrifice a lot regardless of money, but the more well off ones have it a little easier)

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  22. I don't think the Hummer was rented, what with the M and M logo written all over it, I think it's the business car.

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  23. The problem is that there should be a way these CHILDREN can get endorsement money put into a trust and still compete and enjoy college. My little gymnast would love to compete in college for the FUN of it and the Olympics (if she is so lucky) but does not understand that most give up the former for the glamour of the endorsements . . .

    Gabby Douglas' situation is a bit unusual, her father is fighting for our country, there should be more help to her family, I think. Yes, don't like the method of their fundraising, they could use some help in marketing better. . . Really a shame a child needs to decide between college gymnastics which a lot of gals LOVE and endorsements. Seems like some smart MBA can figure this out . . .

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