Gigi’s parents had a very different life before she competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Gigi, born to American parents and Pakistani immigrant parents, had never been to the Games.
But they had always been her biggest fan, and when her family was told she was going to be the first Pakistani woman to compete in a Rio Olympics, they immediately began calling their American family members.
They wanted to go see the women’s team.
“They’re like, ‘Gigi, we’ve been waiting for you for like six years, and now you’re here,’ ” her father, Ahmed, told CNN.
“And I was like, no, I don’t know what to say.
I just felt like, this is it, this time.
I can’t wait.”
Gigi was born on March 23, 1996, to American mother Amil and Pakistani father, Ghulam Hadid, in a country that is predominantly Muslim.
But while Gigi has been able to wear her hijab for the first time, it’s still her traditional attire.
She wore a hijab, a traditional headscarf, at home as a child, but was forced to remove it after becoming the youngest of four children to a Muslim father.
When Gigia was five, her father had an operation to remove a tumor in his brain that required surgery on his right eye.
The tumor was surgically removed and left behind, leaving the boy with the same vision problem as his younger siblings.
“It was like a miracle, but you know, the doctor said, ‘You’ll never be able to see anything, because the tumor is gone,'” Gigi said.
“My mom was like ‘You don’t understand.
The tumors are gone.'”
That’s when Gigi started to realize her family’s dream of going to the Olympics.
“I had this really strong feeling that this was something that was really important for me, and I wanted to be part of something bigger than myself,” Gigi explained.
The Olympics brought her closer to her family and her family.
But, Gigi had a different experience at home.
She was only allowed to see her mother for the very first time.
“As a child and a teenager, I wanted so badly to be with my mom, but I just didn’t have the energy to go there,” she said.
Gigil said that as a teenager she was always jealous of the attention she got from her American family.
“The American girls were always going, ‘We’re the coolest, you’re the most talented girl in the world, and you’re going to win the gold medal in Rio,'” she said, referring to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“So I kind of had this sense of being the only Pakistani girl in my school.
And I just thought, what am I doing?
I’m not the only one.
This is just something that I’m stuck in, because it’s just not true.”
Gigil grew up idolizing her American soccer coach, who helped her find the courage to play in the national team.
It was around the same time that she began dating her childhood idol, singer-songwriter Jamiroquai.
Gigia met Jamiropai on the basketball court at a school basketball game.
“When I was about eight or nine, I had a friend who was like my favorite soccer player,” Gigia recalled.
“She was in the same class as me, so I was really jealous.”
The two started dating, and eventually married in 2002.
When she was 15, Gigia got a letter from her father saying that he wanted to take her to the United States for a year, but he was too young to do so.
He wanted her to continue to be a student, but she refused.
“He didn’t want to let me go,” Gigib said.
So Gigi stayed home.
“There was a certain amount of pressure from the family, but that was something I was just happy about, and that’s when I knew that this would be the best decision for me,” Gigis father said.
After Gigi finished high school, she and her mother moved to a more upscale neighborhood of Queens.
“By that time, I was already an Olympic athlete, and it was something for me to be proud of,” Gigiwi said, adding that her parents had always wanted to bring her to Brazil to represent the country.
“At that point, it was very easy to see the sport as something that would benefit my family and my country,” she continued.
“But then it dawned on me that I was only representing myself, so how am I going to represent my country?”
“And then I got really depressed,” Gigiy said.
It wasn’t until the last few years that Gigi began to think about her parents’ requests.
“We started to see our requests coming a lot more often, and we felt that