VIDEO: Gabby Douglas's Friends and Coaches React to her Winning Gold at West Des Moines Watch Party
Teammates describe local gold medalist as a friend and role model.
Chow's Gymnastics and Dance Institute in West Des Moines hasn't just produced two world champions in four years.
It's also produced a whole lot of people who love them.
Dozens of those supporters gathered in Teresa Paulsen's West Des Moines home Thursday night to watch their teammate and role model, Gabby Douglas, take home a gold medal.
Paulsen is the office manager at Chow's, where Douglas has trained for the last two years. Paulsen said she's been fielding calls from around the world since Douglas made the all-around.
“It’s been very exciting," Paulsen said. "People have been calling from Hawaii, England, everywhere. They all have kids, they want to come to Chow’s.”
Also in attendance was Fran Young, who started coaching gymnastics at Chow's just months before Douglas arrived from Virginia. Young's 16-year-old daughter, Haylee, knew Douglas from before she moved from competitions in the southeast U.S.
"I always thought there was something special about a gymnast," Young said. "They always look so strong."
Young described Douglas as a role model for some of the younger gymnasts at Chow's. When those gymnasts were asked what it was like to watch Douglas compete, they said it was "awesome, nervewracking, nice, amazing, and stunning."
"It's interesting," said Nicole Grossman, 11, who attended Douglas's sixteenth birthday party. "She goes to these competitions, competes, and when she comes back, she's just like everyone else."
Although most of the people attending Paulsen's party were aware of the outcome of the competition, very few had seen footage from earlier in the day. During the bars and vault, parents silently nodded encouragement, and coaches stared intensely at the screen.
When she finished her final vault, the room erupted into cheers and smiles.
Since it was nearly 11 p.m., the younger gymnasts weren't able to stay and see the gold medal ceremony.
After all, practice begins at 8 a.m.