Olympics sensation Gabby Douglas may be an all-around gymnastics champ on her way to lucrative endorsement deals, but that doesn't mean she hasn't had her own personal struggles outside the gym.
The two-time gold medalist spoke candidly about her family's tough times amid her quest for Olympic glory, including her mother's financial woes and living away from her father.
"It was hard for us growing up—my dad had left us, so he wasn't really in the picture anymore," the 16-year-old told the New York Post Monday.
Gabby's father, Timothy Douglas, was a military man who had been deployed to the Middle East when she was just 9, and although the family had lived in Virginia Beach, the future Olympic champ eventually moved to Des Moines, Iowa, to train.
"So, my mom had to front all these bills," she said. "My dad didn't really pay the child support. He was short [on money]. It was definitely hard on my mom, taking care of me and my siblings."
Gabby's mother, Natalie Hawkins, filed for bankruptcy in January, just as her daughter's Olympic prospects were taking off.
Still, her father has remained supportive: He surprised Gabby, who earned the nickname "the Flying Squirrel," by showing up at her Olympic trials in June, where he called out to her from the bleachers while carrying a U.S. flag.
"I'm like, 'Who's calling my name?' And then I look up. It was my dad and his friend, and I haven't seen him in a while," Gabby told USA Today in June. "They were holding up the flag. And I almost felt like bawling. I was like, 'Oh, my gosh, Dad!'"
After a history-making one-two punch that saw Gabby win Olympic gold medals in both the individual all-around and team competition, she wavered on the uneven bars Monday, placing eighth.
She'll get another shot at a medal Tuesday—her last hurrah at the Games—when she competes on the balance beam.