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Gabby Douglas' golden message to kids: 'Never give up'

Olympic gold medal gymnast Gabrielle Douglas reacts after

Olympic gold medal gymnast Gabrielle Douglas reacts after throwing the ceremonial first pitch before a baseball game between the Mets and the Colorado Rockies at Citi Field. (Aug. 23, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

Gabby Douglas always had high aspirations, but she never thought people would stop their cars to take pictures with her. That's what happens when you win Olympic gold and become America's darling.

After stealing the show in London, the 16-year-old gymnast has appeared on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" -- with Michelle Obama a guest the same night -- and also did interviews with David Letterman and Oprah Winfrey.

On Thursday, she made a stop at Citi Field, throwing the first pitch of the Mets-Rockies game and sharing stories of her success with kids from the YMCA. Her message to the children was to never give up.

"I want to let them know my story and background and where I came from," Douglas said. "It was not easy. I had to face a lot going through this journey, a lot of sacrifices, difficulties, challenges, even injuries. So I wanted everyone to know it still is possible in any sport for anyone. I wanted them to know never give up and always keep fighting because though times may be tough, sacrifices are not in vain and they do pay off. Just keep pushing toward your dream and enjoy it."

After helping the U.S. win the team gold, Douglas became the first African-American to win the individual all-around title. She was the third straight American -- and fourth overall -- to win gold.

"It's been all cool," said Douglas, whose nickname is "The "Flying Squirrel."

"It's nice to see you have all the support and all the people who love you behind you. It means a lot to me that people were behind me the whole time."

The first pitch, which she shared with a corporate sponsor, was a little outside but reached Mets reliever Robert Carson. She raised her arms in triumph. Douglas previously threw the first pitch at an Iowa Cubs Triple-A game and bounced it. Douglas said she was nervous Thursday because this was the majors.

Douglas, who noted her medals are "in a safe place," hopes to compete in Rio de Janeiro in the 2016 Olympics. "I definitely want to continue in the sport. I feel that I can accomplish more," she said. "I want to gain more and do greater things."


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