By Ryan Buxton, EnStarz | Aug 17, 2012 09:29 AM EDT
Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas has been to London and back, and the journey came full circle Thursday for a homecoming two years in the making.
The gymnast touched down in her hometown of Virginia Beach, Va., and was greeted by a throng of family members, friends and fans chanting her name. Douglas moved out of Virginia Beach two years ago, leaving her family behind to train in Iowa with coach Liang Chow.
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The Olympian looked radiant in a white shirt and beige skirt. Gone was her much-discussed ponytail, which was replaced with a long, wavy look - most likely courtesy of her new, $950-a-pop hairstylist Ted Gibson.
Now that she's home, Douglas has a long to-do list.
"I want to see my dogs," Douglas said. "I haven't seen them in a long time. I just want to visit family and friends and go to the beach and do some shopping. I'm just happy to be home. I haven't been home in two years. I forgot what Virginia looked like!"
But her return will be short-lived. Douglas is headed back to Iowa on Friday for the meeting of a lifetime: "Oprah's coming to see me and talk to me, so that's going to be fun."
The queen of television is interviewing Douglas and her mother, Natalie Hawkins, for an upcoming episode of "Oprah's Next Chapter," which will air Aug. 26 on OWN.
Winfrey has been a vocal fan of Douglas, cheering her on with Twitter support throughout the London Games.
"OMG I'm so THRILLED for Gabby. Flowing happy tears!! #TeamUSA," Winfrey tweeted after Douglas' gold-medal victory.
With all the fanfare surrounding her, Douglas said she was excited to finally return to her roots.
"It feels amazing to be home. It's been an amazing journey," she said.
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