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Talent Murals Honors Olympic Gymnast Gabby Douglas with Tribute Wall

Display at Virginia Beach restaurant celebrates “Flying Squirrel” in her hometown

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The London Olympics, with more than 200 million U.S. viewers during the fortnight of competition, and an average nightly primetime audience of more than 30 million, set a ratings record. While numerous American athletes capture spectators’ imaginations during every Olympiad, the gymnasts especially dazzle viewers with their amazing combination of grace, power and agility.

Possibly the most compelling performer of the U.S. gymnastics team’s quintet was Gabby Douglas, who brought home two gold medals (reasonable Olympics fans appreciated that her scintillating performance deserved media coverage, not her hair or leotard). When she makes a return trip to her native Virginia Beach (for most of her training for the games, she lived with an Iowa host family), a patriotically colored wall mural will greet her with a congratulatory message.

Eric and Todd Lindbergh, the brothers who founded Talent Murals, also in Virginia Beach, 25 years ago, painted the mural. Todd said the duo has bedecked more than 1,200 walls, signs and other forms of artwork.

“We wanted to express hometown pride for a local girl who worked hard and achieved something tremendous,” Todd said. “Before the Olympics started, we went around to various businesses owners and asked if they wanted a mural on their wall to celebrate Gabby’s selection to the team. Initially, we didn’t have any takers.”

After Douglas – also known as “The Flying Squirrel” for her gravity-defying leaping ability – won two gold medals, they decided to try again. Todd inquired with the owners of A.J. Gators, a sports-bar chain with 12 locations across the Old Dominion, about painting the mural at one of its Virginia Beach locations. They eagerly agreed. Over four days, the Lindberghs immortalized Douglas with a mural composed with oil-based paints and chip brushes.

Thanks to social media’s omnipresence, Douglas quickly learned of Talent Murals’ tribute. In response, she tweeted, “WOW! This is amazing!! #sohonored.” 

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