Gabrielle Douglas reduced to tears over what her mom calls social media "bullying"


Olympic gold medalist Gabrielle Douglas has faced her share of critics since the 2012 Olympics. Back then, it was her hair's texture and appearance that had some social media commenters wondering why she didn't "do" her hair before competing for the U.S. in gymnastics.

Douglas has faced more criticism during the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as some have brought up her hair once again. She's faced other critiques as well. When Douglas did not place her hand over hear heart during the National Anthem for the team's gold medal ceremony, Twitter erupted, even though there's no rule that you must do that.

Social media slammed Douglas again when she was shown in the stands applauding teammates Simone Biles and Aly Raisman during the all-around competition, while her other teammates were shown giving standing ovations. She was even given the nickname, "Crabby Gabby."

Both Raisman and Biles have told the press that Douglas was a supportive cheerleader for them during the Games. Still, that didn't stop the onslaught of negative comments.


All of the criticism finally came to a head for Douglas on Sunday, after she finished her final routine of these Olympics and possibly her Olympic career.

Tears began to form in Douglas' eyes when a reporter asked her about the comments she's received.

"I tried to stay off the Internet, because there's just so much negativity," Douglas said. "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."

Douglas apologized to anyone she offended by standing at attention during the anthem, rather than placing her hand over her heart as her teammates did.


"I've always said it was an honor to represent the U.S. You always do this for your country, and then, like people say, for yourself and other people," Douglas added.

After Douglas finished her comments, ESPN reports she walked down the hall, stood in a corner and cried.

A woman reportedly walked over and gave Douglas a tissue and tried to console her.

Douglas' mother said her daughter has been bullied by the online comments.


"What I saw in the stands," Douglas' mother, Natalie Hawkins said, "was someone who was hurting, and she was also angry. What was going through her head was, 'I'm being attacked for everything I do, so I might as well not do anything. Because no matter what I do, I am being attacked.'"