*Lifetime’s original movie about Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas premieres at 8 p.m. Saturday with Imani Hakim – the little sister from “Everybody Hates Chris” – in the lead role.
Regina King plays Gabby’s mom, S. Epatha Merkerson stars as her grandmother and Sydney Mikayla plays the younger Gabby.
The tele-pic, which kicks off Lifetime’s Black History Month, will recount Gabby’s rough journey toward the gold.
The movie shows young Gabby studying Olympian Shawn Johnson and deciding that she should work with Johnson’s coach, Liang Chow (played by Brian Tee). It shows her threaten to quit when she grows weary of training in Iowa while her family is in Virginia. It shows some mild conflict with other gymnasts in her early years, though not the degree of racism and bullying Douglas would later describe.
Even more, it tells the story of Natalie Hawkins (King), who struggled to meet the enormous financial demands of a gymnastics career while bringing up Gabby and three other children. The movie shows her trying to be realistic, only to recognize that Gabby has a remarkable gift that should be used – even if that leads to sacrifices along the way. Nor is Hawkins the only one to offer emotional support; there are also Gabby’s siblings and Natalie’s mother (Merkerson).
The original movie will air Feb. 1 at 8/7c on Lifetime. Watch the trailer below.