Gabby Douglas appeared in a sit-down interview with Oprah on Oprah’s Next Chapter and recalled an unfortunate experience where she endured bullying by fellow gymnasts.
During the interview, Douglas revealed she was the brunt of “racist jokes” by fellow gymnasts back in her hometown of Virginia Beach.
“One of my teammates was, like, ‘Can you scrape the bar?’ And they were like, ‘Why doesn’t Gabby do it?” Douglas told Oprah. “She’s our slave, so…’” “I definitely felt isolated. I felt, why am I deserving this? Is it because I’m black? Like, those thoughts would go through my mind.”
The negativity she experience was part of the reason she moved to Iowa to train under renowned coach Liang Chow.
Gabby Douglas, a prolific gymnast who represented the U.S. in the 2012 Summer Olympics, has proven herself worthy of being named the best gymnast in the world.
Douglas earned the title after winning gold medals in both the individual and team all-around competitions. The 16-year-old Virginia Beach native became the first African American woman to win an Olympic all-around title and fourth American woman to do so.
Douglas also discussed with Oprah the controversy surrounding her hair.
Douglas logged onto her computer to Google her name following her amazing Olympic performance and was surprised to find a lot of negative comments discussing her hair.
“What’s wrong with my hair,” she said in an interview with AP. “I’m like, “I just made history and people are focused on my hair?’ It can be bald or short, it doesn’t matter about (my) hair.”
Douglas is blocking out the negativity and already has her sights focused on gold at the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro.
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