On October 15, Sen. Collins attended an event in Gary, Indiana, honoring Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Gabrielle Douglas. A native of Virginia, Ms. Douglas has ties to the Midwest; her mother, Natalie Hawkins, hails from Gary, and Ms. Douglas trained in Iowa. On behalf of the Illinois State Senate, Sen. Collins presented Gabrielle Douglas with a Senate recognition plaque.

"I came because I wanted Gabrielle to know that we in Illinois are proud of what she has accomplished and we encourage her to continue to inspire our youth," Collins told the Chicago Crusader. "She is a role model now and that should not be taken lightly. I admire her dignity and hard work and in Illinois we believe in supporting anyone who lives by these standards."

At this summer's Olympic Games in London, Gabrielle Douglas became the first African-American woman to win an individual gymnastics gold medal when she placed first in the individual all-around competition. She also helped the United States women's gynastics team earn a gold medal in the team event.

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