Gabby Douglas paid a surprise visit to Lola, a 14-year-old competitive gymnast who is legally blind, on an episode of “The Doctors” this week.
Lola is, of course, an inspiration herself. But before Douglas came on the set, Lola said the Olympic all-around champion was her role model. Douglas’ childhood included leaving her family in Virginia at 14 to live and train with a host family in Iowa.
“A lot of it has to do with because of how she grew up that she still managed to make it to the Olympics, even though she had a really hard childhood,” Lola said.
Lola was asked what she would say to Douglas if she could talk to her. Lola didn’t have an answer.
Douglas then came out onto the stage. Lola appeared to remain speechless as Douglas hugged her amid standing applause.
“Oh my goodness,” Douglas said, as she fought back tears. “Wow, this is such an amazing moment for me. I just have to say I am starstruck, Lola. You are truly incredible. This truly shows what a mind can do. If you love something and have a passion for something, you won’t let anything stop you. You are amazing, Lola. Thank you so much.”
After more applause and hugs, Lola was asked again if she could think of something to say.
“,” Lola said, shaking her head.
Douglas had one more surprise left. She pulled out one of her 2012 Olympic gold medals and put it around Lola’s neck.
Steve Langton, who was described by driver Steven Holcomb as the “best push athlete in the world,” announced his retirement today.
A collegiate sprinter and jumper at Northeastern University, Langton decided to try bobsledding after watching the 2006 Winter Olympics. He filled out an online athlete resume, and, by the 2010 Games, he was an Olympian.
At the Sochi 2014 Games, Langton teamed with Holcomb to win a bronze medal in the two-man race. It was the first Olympic medal in the event by American sled since 1952. He claimed another bronze medal as a member of Holcomb’s four-man “Night Train.”
“In Sochi I competed on the world’s biggest stage, I won two medals for my country and I did so along not only the best teammates but best friends anyone could ever ask for,” Langton told USA Bobsled.
Langton, who has a 62-inch standing box jump and can squat more than 500 pounds, was described by Men’s Health as “the most powerful winter Olympian” in the lead-up to 2014 Games.
“[Langton’s] work ethic and discipline rubbed off on the other athletes and made everyone better,” said USA Bobsled & Skeleton Chief Executive Officer Darrin Steele. “I have no doubt that he’ll find success in the next chapter of his life as well.”
Langton appeared on “The Amazing Race” in 2015 with his girlfriend, Aly Dudek, an Olympic short track speedskater.
None of the push athletes on the current U.S. roster have Olympic experience. Holcomb will compete in the World Cup opener this Saturday with Sam McGuffie, a former University of Michigan football player. The race will be McGuffie’s World Cup debut.