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Gabby Douglas Says Virginia Gymnasts Called Her ‘Slave’

The remarkable poise and ability of Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas captured the hearts of America during the London Olympics, but she told Oprah Winfrey that she endured racism and bullying at the gym where she trained in Virginia Beach.

In fact, the treatment was so nasty that she considered giving up the sport—until she was allowed to escape to Iowa, where she flourished under a new coach at a new gym.

“One of my teammates was like, ‘Can you scrape the bar? And they were like, ‘Why doesn’t Gabby do it, she’s our slave?'” Douglas said during her nationally televised interview last night on “Oprah’s Next Chapter.” “I definitely felt isolated, I felt why am I deserving this? Is it because I’m black? Those thoughts would go through my mind.”

Gabby’s mother, Natalie Hawkins, revealed to Oprah that when Gabby was 14, she told her mother that if she couldn’t move away from the bullying and get a new coach, she’d rather quit the sport.

“I felt like I was bullied and isolated from the group, and they treated me not how they would treat the other teammates,” Gabby said to Oprah.

As we’ve pointed out before, as Gabby reveals the nastiness that she endured in Virginia, we can’t help but note that her old coaches in Virginia Beach have been complaining about how they should be getting more credit for her development.

At the London Olympics, Douglas became the first African-American gymnast to win the individual, and the first American to take both individual and team at the same Olympics.

Last week Gabby was in New York to throw out the first pitch at the New York Mets game. She spoke to children at a charity before the game.

“I wanted to tell my story and where I came from and my background, because it was not easy,” Douglas said, according to the New York Daily News. “I had to face a lot coming through this journey, a lot of sacrifices, difficulties, challenges, and injuries.

“I wanted everyone to know it’s still possible for anyone really. I wanted to make them know to never give up and always keep fighting, because though times may be tough, the sacrifices do pay off, so just keep pushing towards your dream and just love it at the same time and enjoy it.”

What people are saying

9 thoughts on “Gabby Douglas Says Virginia Gymnasts Called Her ‘Slave’

  1. Darryl Montgomery says:

    it will never ever stop no matter what you do or accomplish but when the slave becomes the master its going to be hell to tell the Captain.

  2. Renee Love says:

    If I was Gabby I would go straight to those little whores and sing , Look at me now I am getting papers!

  3. Free at last! Free at last …

  4. David Austin says:

    My name is dave… college buddies called me dave the slave because I did my homework while they partied. I'm white of course, so I never associated it with slave-ownership nor did they I'm sure (espcially considering the master-slave technical terminology used in our engineering classes). White people can be stupid that way sometimes, but that doesn't mean they're being racist.

  5. Marcus Ford says:

    Oh, here we go, somebody always pops up to down play overt racism because they don't know how else to deal with it.

  6. Marcus Ford says:

    Gabby would look silly doing that, especially from the position she's in now. Those little bi's are already fuming as they watch all that Gabby has and will achieve and weep.

  7. Renee Love says:

    Oh sorry, socially correct saying Look at me now i am getting papers. Is that nice enough due to her social position.

  8. Gabby assisted in increasing my pride. You've done well and pleased our Ancestors.

  9. Gabby assisted in increasing my pride. You've done well and pleased our Ancestors.

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