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modern_muslimah
08-28-2012, 03:21 PM
She recalled a specific example of racism. “One of my teammates was like, ‘Could you scrape the bar?’” she remembered. “And they were like, ‘Why doesn’t Gabby do it, she’s our slave?’”

“I was the only African-American at that gym,” Gabby went on. “I definitely felt isolated. Why am I deserving this? Is it because I’m black? — those thoughts were going through my mind.”

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv-movies/olympic-gold-medalist-gabby-douglas-tells-oprah-called-slave-gymnastics-training-virginia-article-1.1145455#ixzz24qmSj8RR

The racist bullying she received at this gym was part of the reason why went to train with Liang Chow in Iowa. It's sad she had to go through that but also incredible that she overcame it and went on to win two OGMs.

Wyliefan
08-28-2012, 04:23 PM
Poor girl. But good for her for finding a way out and keeping on! And none of her tormentors have OGMs. :D

I was wondering if all that hair chatter on Twitter bothered her. That was really unfortunate.

And she looks adorable in that yellow dress.

michiruwater
08-28-2012, 04:45 PM
The comments on that article are super pissing me off. "If this really happened, why didn't she talk about it months ago?" Uh, when months ago would it have been a good time to talk about it? Was she supposed to take the focus off the Games? Idiots.

millyskate
08-28-2012, 04:57 PM
http://www.gymnastike.org/coverage/248218-2012-London-Olympics/video/654683-Excalibur-Gymnastics-responds-to-Gabby-Douglass-comments-to-Oprah

AYS
08-28-2012, 05:00 PM
The comments on that article are super pissing me off. "If this really happened, why didn't she talk about it months ago?" Uh, when months ago would it have been a good time to talk about it? Was she supposed to take the focus off the Games? Idiots.
I couldn't agree more, why the heck would she want to go into a PR maelstrom while trying to prepare for trials and the Olympics.

Comments on the bottom of articles on the internet are almost always beyond obnoxious.

IceAlisa
08-28-2012, 05:14 PM
It really doesn't seem to be the case that Gabby was the only Black girl at that gym, not according to the video millyskate linked.

Looks like there are plenty of women of color, including one of the coaches.

Wyliefan
08-28-2012, 05:18 PM
Comments on the bottom of articles on the internet are almost always beyond obnoxious.

Amen.

CynicElle
08-28-2012, 05:21 PM
I couldn't agree more, why the heck would she want to go into a PR maelstrom while trying to prepare for trials and the Olympics.

Comments on the bottom of articles on the internet are almost always beyond obnoxious.

Yep. I started to read the comments on this one, sensed that my blood pressure was going to soar, and hit the "Back" button.

aftershocks
08-28-2012, 05:48 PM
The comments on that article are super pissing me off. "If this really happened, why didn't she talk about it months ago?" Uh, when months ago would it have been a good time to talk about it? Was she supposed to take the focus off the Games? Idiots.

Yes, ITA, like it really needed to be brought up during her training for the Games. The only reason it is being brought up now is because Gabby's the first African-American gymnast to win individual gold, and questions will be asked. I see nothing wrong with Gabby relating to Oprah what she has experienced. Gabby has made history. She's obviously extremely talented and through perseverance, hard work, and a certain amount of luck (fortuitous circumstances) she has been able to make it. She had the inner strength and concentration working for her too when it mattered. I recall during the Olympic telecast the commentators often mentioning that Gabby had wanted to call it quits earlier in her gymnastics career and her sister encouraged her to continue. I did wonder when I heard that whether her desire to quit had something to do with the difficulties of being African-American and extremely talented in a sport where there are very few African-Americans at the top.

Re the trivial Twitter hair controversy, I read that Gabby slapped that stupidity back: "Really, all they could talk about was my hair?!!" The Twitter comments came from some African-American women too, I read. IMO, I saw absolutely nothing wrong with Gabby's hair. She can wear it any way she chooses. Everyone's hair regardless of ethnic background comes in all textures and with all kinds of care issues. IMO, it's quite cool to rock a gorgeous 'fro like Esperanza Spalding or the classic no-fuss dos that Mrs. Obama graces. Of course, being an athlete in gymnastics does require keeping hair as well as nerves under control, and as far as I'm concerned, Gabby has done a superlative job on all counts. She was unable to hold up as well in the later individual apparatus events but she was stellar in the team and all-around and deserved her gold medals. Nothing anyone can say about her hair or her experiences in the gymnastics world will change that. I'm always amazed to see many of the track-and-field women athletes sporting elaborate hairdos, but they sure look amazing running down the track! Serena and Venus have brought a lot glamour and excitement, not to mention power (following in Navratilova's pioneering footsteps re power-game) to women's tennis. Let's cheer all these dynamic athletes and celebrate contributions from all. Loving what Alexandra Raisman showed too at the Olympics -- power, confidence, team spirit, excellence. McKayla Maroney could use some eye makeup tips, IMO -- but her vaulting is out of this world.


http://www.gymnastike.org/coverage/248218-2012-London-Olympics/video/654683-Excalibur-Gymnastics-responds-to-Gabby-Douglass-comments-to-Oprah

Uh, jealous much? I didn't see the Oprah interview in its entirety but I don't doubt Gabby experienced stuff, so what! She moved on to a better training environment for her. The people at the Excalibur gym need to get over it. Perhaps Gabby could have said, "Not every experience I had at Excalibur was terrible, but there were some individuals and some instances at that gym where I felt that I was not being treated fairly." Or, if Gabby felt it was just some fellow gymnasts and not issues with the entire staff, she could have clarified that in her comments. IMO, it probably had more to do with jealousy re Gabby's talent and the color of her skin was just another excuse to rag on her.

Perhaps Gabby meant she was the only top level African-American gymnast competing at that gym. Or else it was Gabby at the top, and perhaps one or two other African-Americans (including the coach that spoke on camera) during Gabby's time training there -- but clearly Gabby had more talent than a lot of other gymnasts there regardless of ethnic background. In any case, why are the coaches there acting as if "racism does not exist at this gym." Racism, sexism and other "isms" permeate our society. None of our social ills have been eradicated. No need to act so "outraged" re Gabby stating what she actually experienced.

ETA:


It really doesn't seem to be the case that Gabby was the only Black girl at that gym, not according to the video millyskate linked.

Looks like there are plenty of women of color, including one of the coaches.

Yeah sure, but that doesn't mean there were that many African-Americans there at the time Gabby was training there. And see my above comments ... the coach who spoke on camera was there as she specifically stated. But I wonder if it is more that Gabby was the only African-American at the time who had top level talent. And, as a result, some jealousy ensued. Whatever. I think Excalibur should get a grip and do some PR repair by stating that whatever negative experiences Gabby had at their facility they are sorry to hear about and that they are honored to have played a small role in Gabby's early training as a gymnast.

WindSpirit
08-28-2012, 05:49 PM
It's just "Gabby"? No last name? Not everyone in interested in gymnastics or watched the Olympics.

BTW, I saw a headline that she didn't want to be called Gabby. Yet, she's just Gabby.

snoopy
08-28-2012, 05:51 PM
It really doesn't seem to be the case that Gabby was the only Black girl at that gym, not according to the video millyskate linked.

Looks like there are plenty of women of color, including one of the coaches.

Are you talking about the gym in Iowa? Because the gym mentioned in the article is back in Virginia. Gabby moved to Iowa to get away from the issues in Virginia.

aftershocks
08-28-2012, 06:15 PM
It's just "Gabby"? No last name? Not everyone in interested in gymnastics or watched the Olympics.

BTW, I saw a headline that she didn't want to be called Gabby. Yet, she's just Gabby.

Uh, whoever doesn't know who "Gabby" is has probably been sleeping under a rock. I didn't watch all of the Olympics, and not all of the gymnastics events, but I know who Gabby is, and I'd heard of her a bit even before the Olympics, even tho' I don't follow gymnastics that closely. There's even a Sasha Cohen thread in GSD which mentions "Gabby" (albeit with "Douglas") in the title. ;)

Gabrielle Douglas, then. Altho' I didn't like the "flying squirrel" moniker for "Gabrielle Douglas," I see nothing wrong with the nickname, Gabby. Seems somewhat similar to Richard Dornbush being known as "Ricky" and now preferring to be called Richard.

Anyways, all power, all good luck to Ms. Gabrielle Douglas!

modern_muslimah
08-28-2012, 07:09 PM
It's just "Gabby"? No last name? Not everyone in interested in gymnastics or watched the Olympics.

BTW, I saw a headline that she didn't want to be called Gabby. Yet, she's just Gabby.

Sorry. :o You're right. Not everyone may know who she is. Could you change the title to "Gabrielle Douglas opens up about..."?

aftershocks
08-28-2012, 07:13 PM
^^ I think there have been worse egregious offences with thread titles on FSU, but yeah "Gabby Douglas" or "Gabrielle Douglas" leaves no doubt. ;) Altho' who else named "Gabby" has been in the worldwide news recently?

ETA: you also included "gymnast" in the thread title

Vash01
08-28-2012, 08:15 PM
I did not read the comments at the bottom; just read the article. I was not too surprised that she experienced discrimination for being African American. Gymnastics, like figure skating, is a predominantly 'white' sport. I cannot even imagine how much it must have hurt her feelings.

May be she kept quiet because she really wanted to learn and was afraid to voice her anger. She was only 14 when she moved to Iowa, so she was even younger when she heard the racist remarks. She did tell her mother.

I am happy that she overcame so much bias and won the OGM. She is going to be an inspiration to other minority athletes who also want to become world class gymnasts and possibly Olympic champions.