Thousands of people have flipped over Mattel's newest Barbie — including its subject.
Yesterday, Gabby Douglas, the two-time US Olympic gold medalist, debuted her "Shero" Barbie on Twitter.
"Let's continue to break barriers [and] dream big, girls!" Douglas wrote. The world went about as wild as they did when she won both the team and all-around gold medals at the London Olympics in 2012 — the first American gymnast to ever do so.
Now, with the 2016 Rio Olympics right around the balance beam, Barbie has immortalized Douglas in their "Sheroes" collection, their initiative to celebrate powerful female figures and encourage young women — particularly of color — to go after their high-flying aspirations.
Besides Douglas, the current U.S. Olympic gymnastic team has two other members of color: Simone Biles, a three-time, all-around world champion often referred to as the "greatest female gymnast ever," and Laurie Hernandez, who finished second to Biles at this year's qualifications, making her the first Puerto Rican woman to join a U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team.
Earlier this year, Mattel debuted a Barbie version of prima ballerina Misty Copeland to widespread acclaim. Over the past few years, the Barbie brand has rebuilt itself with the mission to provide young girls of all shapes, sizes, and colors with positive representations of powerful female role models.
Athleticism — especially at the Olympic level — is an integral part of this effort. Despite sports' proven ability to instill confidence in girls, many stop playing when they reach puberty — but some typically "feminine" companies and organizations, like Mattel and Miss Teen USA, have started initiatives to change all that.