By Houston Mitchell
12:38 PM EST, December 21, 2012
Gabby Douglas, who won the women's gymnastics individual all-around title at the 2012 London Olympics, was named the Associated Press female athlete of the year on Friday.
“I didn't realize how much of an impact I made,” Douglas said, “My mom and everyone said, `You really won't know the full impact until you're 30 or 40 years old.’ But it's starting to sink in.”
Douglas, 16, received 48 of 157 votes, seven more than swimmer Missy Franklin, who won four gold medals and a bronze in London. Serena Williams, who won Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, was third (24). Basketball player Britney Griner, who led Baylor to a 40-0 record and the NCAA title, and skier Lindsey Vonn each got 18 votes.
Douglas is the fourth gymnast to win one of the AP's annual awards, which began in 1931, and first since Mary Lou Retton in 1984.
“I want people to think, 'Gabby can do it, I can do it,' " Douglas said. "Set that bar. If you're going through struggles or injuries, don't let it stop you from what you want to accomplish.
“I may be meeting cool celebrities and I'm getting amazing opportunities,” she said. “But I'm still the same Gabby."
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