Gabrielle Douglas revealed that bullying and racism contributed to her doubts about continuing with gymnastics. Watch.
“I felt being bullied and isolated from the group. They treated me not how they would treat their other teammates,” Gabby told Oprah Winfrey.
Gabby’s mother, Natalie Hawkins, was not fully aware of what her daughter was experiencing.
“When she was 14, she said, ‘I’d rather quit. If I can’t move and train and get another coach, I’d rather quit the sport,’” Natalie said. “There were some things that were going on that she was sharing with me and some things she wasn’t.”
It wasn’t all about racism, but Gabby did recount a story in which teammates referred to her as their slave.
“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.”
While Natalie sat right beside Gabby for part of her interview with Oprah, the gold medalist’s father was not in sight, and Gabby explained she’s not spoken to him since her historic moment in London.
Gabby, who changed her telephone number recently, admitted that she hasn’t taken the initiative to reach out to her dad.
“I don’t think it would be for the best,” she said. “We’re kinda distant.”
Watch more from the interview and a few outtakes below.
—Tracy L. Scott