After stunning the world with a nearly flawless gymnastics routine, Olympian Gabby Douglas has found herself at the center of brash and unwarranted criticism, not for her athletic skill set; but for her pulled back, clipped ponytail. Douglas, 16, made headlines Aug. 2 when she became the first black American to win the individual all-around Olympic gold medal as well as the first American to win an individual and team gold in the same Olympics.
Since then, however, she’s been the topic of discussion on social media where she’s been blasted for wearing the exact same hairstyle as her white teammates. “#GabbyDouglasHair was freed on the Underground Railroad,” wrote one critic on Twitter. “#GabbyDouglasHair is leaving her forehead on the Midnight Train To Georgia,” quipped another.
“Gabby Douglas gotta do something with this hair!” wrote another. “These clips and this brown gel residue ain’t it!”
Unfortunately, the coiffure controversy hasn’t gone unnoticed by the teen, and she was recently asked to comment by The Associated Press. “I don’t know where this is coming from. What’s wrong with my hair?” said Douglas. ”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.”
Adding that she uses gel, hair clips and a ponytail holder to hold it in place, Douglas had just one more thing to say; she’ll never change her hairstyle, for anyone. “Nothing is going to change,” she said. ”I’m going to wear my hair like this during beam and bar finals. You might as well just stop talking about it.”
Rightfully defiant, the history-making gymnast will return to television screens tonight during the women’s uneven bars finals. If and when Douglas pulls off another win, it would would mark her third time racking up the coveted gold hardware. -danielle canada