LONDON — To become the Olympic champion in the individual all-around event, Gabby Douglas first had to leave everything she knew best.
She had to pack up her bedroom in Virginia Beach, Va., where she lived with her mother, two sisters and brother. She had to say goodbye to her two dogs, who used to sleep in her bed, and bid farewell to the beach, where she loved to ride waves on her boogie board.
But it was time to take the leap, however heartbreaking and awkward it would be. Even at 14, Douglas knew that.