Gabby Douglas Talks Racism And Hair Controversy With Oprah
After capturing America’s heart with her high flying gymnastics routines, a 16-year-old Olympian once again captivated audiences, this time with her wit and charm. Gabby Douglas appeared recently on Oprah’s “Next Chapter” series and spoke about her road to the 2012 Olympics. At times, joined by her mother Natalie Hawkins, the precocious teen detailed a time when she considered dropping the sport because she was bullied by her teammates. According to Douglas while she was training in Virginia, she was the subject of racist remarks. The remarks would eventually lead to her decision to move to Des Moines, Iowa to work with trainer Liang Chow. “I felt like I was bullied and isolated from the group, and they treated me not how they would treat the other teammates,” said Douglas. “I was getting racist jokes. I was being isolated from the group. I’d come home at night and cry my eyes out because what did I do to deserve this? One of my teammates was like, ‘Can you scrape the bar?’ and they were like, ‘Well why doesn’t Gabby do it? She’s our slave.”
In addition to discussing racism, Gabby talked about the ‘hot button topic’ that’s followed her since viewers first laid eyes on her; her hair. When asked by Oprah how she felt about the criticism that’s caused widespread debate, Gabby said she was oblivious until she Googled’ her name online. “I searched it, just to see what they were talking about. I put Gabby Douglas and then it says ‘Gabby Douglas hair’ like the first one on Google.” The gymnast would later say that the criticism hurt her feelings.
Before the interview aired, Oprah posed for pictures with the gymnast and gushed about how much they resemble one another.
Watch Gabby talking to Oprah below.