By Jennifer Lee, EnStarz | Aug 06, 2012 10:44 PM EDT
Gabby Douglas' father was in London to see her amazing performance to win the gold medal in the women's gymnastics all-around at the Olympic 2012 Games, although he was forced to watch from a distance.
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Her father has been serving in the Air Force, but he managed to witness his daughter make history by becoming the first African-American woman to win the all-around gold.
Air Force Staff Sgt. Timothy Douglas, who has served multiple deployments throughout Gabby's childhood, was in London for the Olympics but was not in the arena to see the event live last Thursday, according to Fox News.
Douglas told the Des Moines Register in late June, after surprising his daughter at the Olympic Trials in San Jose: "There's an exuberance. There's a feeling that you can't describe."
Gabby Douglas' father has been on three tours of Iraq and Afghanistan, and has had to watch video recordings of his daughter's amazing routines. He reportedly had to see her performances through YouTube videos as he served with the 203rd Red Horse civil engineering squadron, either in Virginia Beach or in Kandahar.
His last tour ended in October 2011, and managed to see his daughter at the Team USA Olympic team qualifications - that was said to be one of but a handful of times that he's managed to see his daughter perform live. It was the first time that he had seen her for about two years and sparked an emotional reunion.
He held up a banner in the crowd saying "Go Gabby Douglas, Love, Dad" surprising his daughter who did not even know he was there at the event.
"I'm like, 'Who's calling my name?' And then I look up," she told the Des Moines Register. "It was my dad and his friend, and I haven't seen him in a while. They were holding up the flag. And I almost felt like bawling. I was like, 'Oh, my gosh, Dad!"
"I just missed her so much," Timothy Douglas told the paper. "It's just so thrilling what's going on."
Gabby has said that she has prayed constantly for her father's safety as he has been on dangerous missions, and her prayers became a regular part of her life.
"I just had to pray to God just to keep him safe and tell the angels to keep my dad safe and come home," she told NBC.
Last week Gabby Douglas beat Russian Viktoria Komova to the gold in the all-around. She had already won gold in the team event where she played a vital part in Team USA coming out on top for the gold for the first time since 1996 in Atlanta.
Douglas' father, however, was unable to get tickets for the event to see her daughter win gold and had to make do watching the event on TV with his family, a spokesman with the Virginia National Guard told Fox News.
Gabby Douglas' mother, Natalie Hawkins, is currently divorcing Timothy Douglas, but both have put their differences aside to offer their love and support to their daughter, and their unconditional love and support has no doubt gone a long way in making Gabby the spectacular gold medalist she has become.
According to TMZ, Hawkins had filed for bankruptcy.
As reported by the New York Times, Douglas spoke of the bankruptcy, saying: "It was really hard for us because my dad had left us, so he wasn't really in the picture anymore, so my mom had to front all these bills. My dad didn't really pay the child support; he was coming short. It was definitely hard."
Gabby placed 8th in the uneven bars competition today.
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