"I thought it was kind of bizarre," she said.
And forget about being able to go anywhere without being recognized.
"I'm definitely not going to escape it — unless I wear a disguise," she said, brightening to the idea. "A mustache. A wig, maybe."
But that's a worry for another day. Now is the time to celebrate her success, and savor all the trappings.
Douglas admitted one of the first things she did when she got up was Google herself. She loved scanning all the photos. Even better was scrolling through her Twitter feeds, and noting how many celebrities sent congratulations: NFL quarterback Michael Vick; Oscar winner Octavia Spencer; rapper Timbaland; actresses Gabrielle Union and Elizabeth Banks; singer Ciara; Mr. Summer Games himself, Michael Phelps; her celebrity crush, Ian Somerhalder from "The Vampire Diaries."
She even sparked a tiny Twitter spat when Nicki Minaj thought Douglas responded to fellow rapper Lil Wayne but dissed her.
"Oh wow, I tweeted about (hashtag)Gabby earlier but she responds to (Lil Wayne) and not me? U know what? Ima fight u. I've had it!!!" Minaj tweeted.
"I tried to find her, I promise!" Douglas said with a laugh, adding that Minaj's tweet was actually one of her favorites. "She said I was a little firecracker."
As for what's next, Douglas will compete in the finals for uneven bars Monday and balance beam Tuesday, and insists she plans to compete through the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Of course, she may feel differently when she considers the avalanche of invitations sure to come for appearances, commercials and star-studded events like the Oscars and Grammys. Gymnasts Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson, who finished 1-2 in Beijing, discovered the demands of elite-level gymnastics aren't always compatible with once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.
"This is the time to take those opportunities and live it up. But the Olympic level of gymnastics is very short-lived," Liukin said. "It's very hard to balance."
But Douglas is only 16 — she turns 17 on Dec. 31 — and the prospect of becoming the first all-around champion to try to defend her title since Nadia Comaneci in 1980 might be enough to entice her to stick around.
"I don't think I'm going to retire just yet," she said. "People tell me I'm too young, I should stick with it."
Meanwhile, she's out to find Usain Bolt and Venus and Serena Williams. There's also that trip back to her hometown of Virginia Beach, Va., that she can't wait to take.
Douglas hasn't been home since moving to West Des Moines, Iowa, almost two years ago, and she's craving her favorite popcorn from Jody's — "It's like a Willy Wonka store." She wants to see her dogs and sleep in her old bed, too.
It's all very normal for a girl whose life will now be anything but.
"You have to cherish these moments," Douglas said. "It's definitely amazing."
Follow Nancy Armour at www.twitter.com/nrarmour
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