As Gabby told the New York Times in June: “I have an advantage because I’m the underdog and I’m Black and no one thinks I’d ever win. Well, I’m going to inspire so many people. Everybody will be talking about, how did she come up so fast? But I’m ready to shine.” Shine she did. Dominique Dawes, the great African-American gymnast who won team gold in 1996, exclaimed: “I feel like Gabby is my child or something. I am so anxious for her to win. I know it will have an enormous impact on encouraging African-Americans and other minorities to go into the sport of gymnastics.”
Before fighting U.S. boxer Marcus Browne, Damien Hooper’s ring attire included a black T-shirt emblazoned with the Aboriginal flag. Hooper, who is of Indigenous ancestry, knew that he was breaking the Olympics “no politics rule,” which states that you can only represent your country or approved corporate sponsors.