Gabby Douglas — and her mom — were not initially OK with cameras following them for a TV series.
“Douglas Family Gold” premieres on Oxygen on Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET (the entire first episode of the reported six-week series is also viewable now here).
The series was the idea of Douglas’ older sister, Arielle, but it took several approaches by major companies before the family agreed to take part.
“For the most part, I was a little bit hesitant on doing this show because I was like, woah, woah, woah, the main goal is Rio,” the 2012 Olympic all-around champion said last month while promoting one of her sponsors, P&G, in New York. “I can’t get distracted and have the cameras like, coming all up to the gym. So I was a little hesitant, and I was talking to my mom, and we came to an agreement that the cameras weren’t going to be in there as much. And they were very respectful. They weren’t in there as much. I was like, all right, fine, let’s do it. It’s been a fun process and a fun journey.”
Douglas’ mother, Natalie Hawkins, said that after multiple overtures from “really big production companies,” a friend of a friend from Wilmer Valderrama Enterprises came along.
Hawkins asked that friend to outline a vision for a show.
“When she told me, it was exactly what I had envisioned if I had a show,” Hawkins said. “So I said, done, how do we get the ball rolling? And we just were off and running from there.
“We basically wrote down on paper the type of show we wanted to make.”
And that is?
“What it takes behind the scenes,” Hawkins said. “What it takes to stay focused. What it takes to be inspired. What the stakes are. Really, a lot of people don’t know, we actually haven’t shared a lot of our story. But at least this part that we can share about this road is some of what goes on behind the scenes to support an elite athlete, and, for me as a mom, to support my other children at the same time.”
The show’s premiere begins with the lead-up to the August 2015 P&G Championships, with Douglas training in Columbus, Ohio. Hawkins is based in California, managing Douglas’ business ventures, and said she and Douglas see each other about once a month, plus at meets.
Douglas trained in Iowa, California, Iowa again and now Columbus since the London Olympics.
She has been in Columbus since summer 2014 and said last month she hasn’t thought about whether she will compete after the Rio Olympics, should she make the team announced in July.
“When we first started out [returning to training in May 2013], she was in Iowa, and then unfortunately, she had to leave, but the goal was never to be in Columbus, but now that we’re there, it probably was the best thing that happened on the journey,” Hawkins said. “At least one of the best.”