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.
Video: Bo Jackson surprises Paralympian Blake Leeper
Amy Purdy made her name as a snowboardcross bronze medalist at the Sochi Paralympics and runner-up on “Dancing with the Stars” in 2014.
In September, she’ll combine both.
Purdy will perform as a dancer in the Rio Paralympic Opening Ceremony on Sept. 7, in addition to being an NBC reporter during the Games.
She was told her performance will be four to five minutes. On “Dancing with the Stars,” her performances were about 90 seconds, she said. She traveled to Rio for a week of rehearsals in July.
Purdy, 36, survived bacterial meningitis in 1999 but lost both her legs and later needed a kidney from her father at age 20.
“I’m most excited about the concept of this dance,” Purdy said. “Just the idea of man versus machine. A lot of times we feel really limited because of our prosthetics. But this dance, hopefully, will kind of shatter those borders a little bit and allow me to move my body in a way I haven’t done before.”
Purdy is an innovator. She built her own snowboard and is seen as instrumental in getting her sport into the Paralympic program beginning in 2014.
A model, she’s been in a Madonna music video, a Super Bowl commercial, ESPN the Magazine’s Body Issue and competed on “The Amazing Race” in 2012.
MORE: Rio Paralympic broadcast schedule
Lindsey Vonn‘s episode of “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” will air on NBC on Monday at 10 p.m. ET.
From NBC Universal:
“After roaring across crystal-clear waters in a speedboat, Bear and Lindsey must strip down and swim to shore before inching their way along the rugged coastline. After rappelling down a sheer rock wall, the two get inventive and use a spear-gun to traverse a hundred-foot deep chasm. With the sun setting, they collect a dinner of sea urchins and Bear challenges Lindsey to a swimming competition with hilarious results. Along the way Lindsey shares her journey of love, Olympic glory, and displays the focus and determination that has made her one of the most successful female athletes of all time.”
Vonn is returning from a Feb. 27 crash that left her with three significant left knee fractures.
With 76 career World Cup wins, she is 10 shy of the record held by Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark.
MORE: Lindsey Vonn wants to race men, retire in 2019