Gabrielle Douglas, who on Thursday became the first African American gymnast to win the all-around event at the Olympics, helped NBC draw 35.7 million viewers, according to fast affiliate numbers. That’s up eight percent from the same night at the Beijing Olympics four years ago.
Already a team gold medal winner at the London Olympics, the 17-year-old’s win in the prestigious all-around event was significant in several ways: she beat the highly touted Russian favorite, defied those uncertain that she would be able to handle the pressure, and became the first ever person of color to win this event. Needless to say, she has gotten her share of attention online.
Twitter exploded when NBC broadcast her win — even with the tape delay — and she received plenty of shoutouts from celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey, Gabrielle Union, Michael Phelps, Octavia Spencer, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Snooki, Elizabeth Banks and ultimate Olympic tweeter Samuel L. Jackson, among many others. And that comes in addition to the mention she got from President Obama on Wednesday.
Almost immediately, Kelloggs announced that Douglas would grace the cover of a Corn Flakes box, releasing the mock-up for all to see. It should be one of many promotional materials for the young athlete.
She also published a column with ESPN, giving her first person take on the road to gold.
“People have asked if I felt like I was on fire here in London, but I just feel normal, the same as I do every day in practice. The difference has been that I was ready to seize the moment, to focus and to trust in what I can do,” Douglas wrote. “You say you want to do it and you dream about it every day, but then when it happens, it’s hard to believe it really has. Tonight, when the U.S. flag was raised and the national anthem played, there were so many camera flashes going off I felt like I was at a concert.
“And the crazy thing was, they were all taking pictures of me.”