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Gabby Douglas talks challenges, 2016, new Lifetime movie

Gabby Douglas Story airing on Lifetime in February
Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Lifetime airs “The Gabby Douglas Story” on Saturday, February 1st. The movie tells the true story of the young gymnast’s rise to international fame as the All-Around Olympian Champion at the 2012 London Games. With a special appearance from Douglas herself, the movie also stars Regina King, Imani Hakim, Sydney Mikayla, Brian Tee and S. Epatha Merkerson.

The story highlights her family’s struggles and determination to reach their goal. Douglas made it onto the 2012 U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team which set the stage for her big win at the Olympic Games.

Douglas spoke with reporters during a press call to promote the film. Below are some highlights of the call:

How involved were you behind the scenes? Did you get to be involved in casting who’s playing you? Did you get to advise them on points of your life or how to do certain tumbles, certain gymnastic moves or were you sort of just like a spectator that put together your story for you?

Gabrielle Douglas: You know, I was pretty much involved. Me and my mom were involved. Lifetime kept us in the loop with everything. They would send us the script, what do you think or they’d send us who was portraying us and they’d send me (Imani)'s line. She’d do some lines on camera and they’d send them over to us to see how she’d act and we said yes. Yes, we were kept in the loop and went on the set and I’d give my input about how this move would, you know, be done or how this competition would be. For the most part they had it right too so, you know, we were pretty much in the loop.

What did you think of the performances of the actresses playing you both athletic and as actors?

Gabrielle Douglas: As actors and you know as athletes I thought they did an amazing job. (Sydney), the character who played the younger Gabby Douglas -- the younger version of me -- I thought she did an excellent job. She was flipping everywhere, tumbling. She was so bubbly and energetic and I was definitely like that when I was very young. And also the older (Imani), she played a very well version of me when I was older. I kind of took life a little bit too seriously when she played well and then at the end I started to become very open and just very outgoing.

Regina King plays the part of your mother. What was it like meeting her?

Gabrielle Douglas: She is amazing. She’s such a doll and she played my mom so well. Me and my sister were joking around, “Mom she even played a better you.” That’s how we were saying she did. She did a fantastic job portraying my mom and she was definitely on point.

When you get a chance to meet some of the young girls that are inspired by you, want to be gymnasts and want to go to the Olympics, what are the main things they ask you?

Gabrielle Douglas: Some ask me do have any advice on the backhand spring or some say you’ve inspired me. Some moms would say you inspired my daughter to keep going.

Do you feel any pressure to defend your title at the 2016 Olympics or how are you going into it? What’s your mindset?

Gabrielle Douglas: My mindset is I’m not Gabby Douglas. I’m not the 2012 - I’m not a big champion in my mind. I’m just going to think I’m another girl vying on that spot for 2016 and I’m just another girl competing for USA and hopefully I’ll do the best that I can. But I’m just going into it with that mindset, just being humble and grounded.

Catch "The Gabby Douglas Story," Saturday, February 1st on Lifetime.

To read more articles with actors from your favorite shows and movies, check out my pages at Daytime TV Examiner, Classic TV Examiner and Animation Examiner. Also, follow me on Twitter at @Phyllis_Thomas

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