Mother of Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas "Not Even Embarrassed" by Bankruptcy
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Mother of Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas "Not Even Embarrassed" by Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

August 31, 2012

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The mother of Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Virginia earlier this year, according to a report from The Miami Herald.

According to papers filed in January in the Eastern District of Virginia, Douglas’s mother, Natalie Hawkins, sought bankruptcy relief through Chapter 13 in order to pay down her debts over the course of three to five years.

Hawkins was very candid with Olympic reporters when they asked about her bankruptcy filing, and many have suggested her financial problems reveal the incredible costs associated with raising an Olympic athlete.

And Hawkins raised one remarkable athlete. During the London Games, Gabby Douglas became the first African-American woman to win an all-around gold medal in the gymnastics event.

Overall, the 16-year-old athlete whose aerial abilities earned her the nickname “Flying Squirrel” won two gold medals and blossomed into an international sports star.

Douglas’s Olympic success could eventually lead to a healthy fortune, as her agent has started fielding requests from hundreds of talk shows, magazines, and businesses looking to cash in on her achievements.

Sources speculate that Douglas could become one of the rare Olympic athletes, such as swimmer Michael Phelps or sprinter Usain Blot, to translate athletic success into millions of dollars in endorsements.

This money could eventually help the gymnast’s mother, who told the bankruptcy court she has assets worth roughly $160,000, but is also staring in the face of more than $80,000 in debt.

When speaking with reporters in London, Hawkins bravely told them that she was “not even embarrassed about” filing bankruptcy and expressed her gratitude that the courts would help her protect her home from foreclosure.

Hawkins, sources say, is disabled, and her only income is from her monthly Social Security disability checks. As a result, once she fell into debt, her financial problems continued to grow until they became untenable.

She is happy that Chapter 13 has given her a chance to “still be able to live and reorganize my debt in such a way that I could still pay what I owed,” according to sources who interviewed her after her daughter’s Olympic triumph.


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