Olympic champ Gabby Douglas goes 'Undercover Boss' in Atlanta May 11

Posted Thursday, May 10, 2018 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Like "The Apprentice," "Wife Swap" and "Big Brother," CBS's veteran show "Undercover Boss" has decided to pursue "celebrity" editions. That means, rather than CEOs of corporations, actual celebrities in disguise infiltrate the lives of deserving people and surprise them with gifts.

This Friday at 8 p.m., three-time Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas dons make-up, a wig and a fake paunch to help out young up-and-coming Atlanta gymnasts and a local gym without their knowledge of who she is.

Douglas, 22, plays a seemingly out-of-shape, older, gray-haired woman Diane Anderson trying to open a gymnastic gym. The producers film her as if this were a documentary about an entrepreneur trying to fulfill her dream and seeking advice from more knowledgable folks.

"I try to act like I'm a complete total stranger to gymnastics," Douglas said during the episode, in which she also pretends like she has never been on a balance beam before, wobbly legs and all. She, for instance, pretends she doesn't know the difference between parallel and uneven bars.

Douglas (or more specifically, the show) provides financial gifts to the gymnasts since training for the Olympics is so expensive.

She also visits Gavilian and Shadae Crawford who run a gym for at-risk kids called Stonecrest Gymnastics & Ninja Zone in Stonecrest. They try to keep prices low and save money by buying used equipment and doing a lot of their own maintenance and construction.

Pictured: Gabby Douglas, Gavilan, Shadae Photo: Mark Hill/CBS ©2017 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

On the show, the Crawfords are flabbergasted when Douglas pretends to be only dimly aware of herself. "I have to research her," Anderson/Douglas said.

In an interview today, Shadae said the gym has been open for five years and provides classes from 18 months to 18 years. They also include a boys-only parkour "Ninja Zone" program and have a competitive team that is winning state trophies. "Business has been going great," Shadae said. "We are steadily growing day by day. Our competitive program has taken off out of nowhere."

The Crawfords obviously had no idea going in what the show was going to be but were thrilled for any free publicity. They did not catch on that anything was strange about the fake Diane Anderson though one kid apparently did, Shadae said.

Once they revealed who she was, the kids who were part of the Stonecrest program went nuts, Gavilian said. "It was a blessing," Shadae said. "They got to meet their hero."


"Undercover Boss," 8 p.m. Fridays, CBS

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.