Did Social Media Bullying May Affect Gabby Douglas’ Performance At Rio Olympics?

Four years ago at the 2012 Olympics in London, Gabby Douglas made history as the first African American woman to win the gold medal in the all-around competition. She was part of the Fierce Five squad, which also brought home a gold medal in the team event.

This time around at the Rio Olympics, even though Gabby did win a gold medal as part of the team competition, she didn’t qualify to compete in the all-around final and placed seventh at yesterday’s uneven bars final.

The uneven bars is usually where Gabby shines as a gymnast, but some have noticed she hasn’t been performing like many are used to seeing her do and social media bullying may have something to do with it.

READ: Gabby Douglas Responds to National Anthem Criticism

Unfortunately, just like at the London games, the 20-year-old is still facing criticism for her hair. But now she’s also being criticized for not placing her hand over her heart when she and her team were being given their Olympic gold medals and she’s also being accused of not supporting her teammates Aly Raisman and Simone Biles.

Yesterday, after competing in her last event, Douglas told reporters the things people are saying is “hurtful.”

“When they talk about my hair or me not putting my hand on my heart of me being very salty in the stands, they’re really criticizing me,” she said.

“It doesn’t really feel good. It was a little bit hurtful.”

According to many who interviewed Douglas, she held back tears while speaking with the press.

“In my head, I pictured it a little bit differently,” she said of the uneven bars event.

“You want to picture yourself being on top and doing amazing gymnastics.”

Douglas went on to say of her Olympic experience this time around, “Everything I’ve gone through has been a lot this time around. And I apologize if [I seemed] really mad in the stands. I wasn’t. I was supporting Aly. And I always will support them and respect them in everything they do. I never want anyone to take it as I was jealous or I wanted attention. Never. I support them, and I’m sorry that I wasn’t showing it.”

She continued, saying, “I’ve been through a lot. I still love them. I still love the people who love me. Still love them who hate me. I’m just going to stand on that.”

Someone who knows how cruel social media can be, Leslie Jones, reached out to Douglas on Twitter and encouraged people to send her love with the hashtag,


We feel bad Douglas let the social media trolls get to her. She’s part of American and Black history and has accomplished more in her 20 years than most people do in a lifetime. She has three gold medals and should be damn proud of herself!


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