Although the Final Five came out victorious at the 2016 Rio Olympics, it wasn’t all fun and games for the star athletes. Gabby Douglas experienced criticism for things as petty as her edges.
Gabby Douglas definitely coulda got her hair done…
— ok kim (@_ShesKimberly) July 9, 2016
“Who let Gabby Douglas out of the house with her hair lookin like that?” wrote another Twitter troll. “I know this isn’t important, but can someone get Gabby Douglas a hair stylist? Lookin crazy on TV right now,” tweeted another.
But it didn’t stop there. The cyberbullying took a turn for the worse after footage featuring the 20-year-old gymnast neglecting to place her hand on her heart while appearing to scowl from the stands as her teammates competed, aired. In fact, viewers dubbed the gold medal winner “Crabby Gabby,” claiming she had disrespected both her country and the flag.
Natalie Hawkins did her best to defend her daughter, telling Reuters, “She’s had to deal with people criticizing her hair, or people accusing her of bleaching her skin. They said she had breast enhancements, they said she wasn’t smiling enough, she’s unpatriotic. Then it went to not supporting your teammates. Now you’re ‘Crabby Gabby.’ You name it and she got trampled. What did she ever do to anyone?”
“I tried to stay off the internet because there’s just so much negativity,” Douglas told reporters on Sunday, Aug. 15. “Either it was about my hair or my hand not over my heart [on the medal podium] or I look depressed. … It was hurtful. It was hurtful. It was. It’s been kind of a lot to deal with.”
Now, teammate Aly Raisman has also responded to the cruel criticism Douglas has experienced throughout the games. “‘We all just tried to cheer her up, and I tried to tell her you can’t be on the internet and Google yourself,” Raisman recently told E! News. “I’m sure any persona that’s ever done an interview, if you Google yourself you obviously see negative things about yourself, but we tried to tell her to stay positive and be there for her.”
Despite the trolls, Douglas walked away a real winner. In addition to scoring a gold medal for the women’s team all-around, she’s reportedly landed a new role this fall: as a judge of the Miss America competition. You better work. Show Douglas some congratulatory love in the comment section below