Gabby Douglas on her Old Gym: “I Was Getting Racist Jokes”
We’ve heard the story how Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas almost quit gymnastics when she was younger, and her sister talked her out of it. But we never really knew why the young gymnast wanted to quit a sport she was so talented at.
But during an interview with Oprah that aired Sunday night, Douglas told her that she was allegedly getting bullied at her old gym in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
“I was just, you know, kind of getting racist jokes, kind of being isolated from the group,” says Douglas. “So it was definitely hard. I would come home at night and just cry my eyes out.”
The bullying got quite racist, when one teammate mentioned slavery.
“One of my teammates was like, ‘Could you scrape the bar?’ And they were like, ‘Well, why doesn’t Gabby do it, she’s our slave?’ It was just very offensive.”
Douglas also told Oprah that she just never felt like she fit in with the group, and didn’t feel like she was apart of the team.
“I felt being bullied, and isolated from the group. They treated me not how they would treat their other teammates.”
Douglas didn’t quit gymnastics, and instead left her family and moved to West Des Moines, Iowa to train at Chow’s Gymnastics, home of 2008 Olympic medalist Shawn Johnson.
When word got out to Gabby’s old gym, Excalibur Gymnastics, about her remarks, they fired back, denying any wrong-doing or bullying. According to E! News, Excalibur’s statement read:
“Gabby’s remarks were hurtful and without merit. We’ve had more African Americans in elite and on the national team than any other gym in the country (5, 2 of them in Olympic Trials or Olympic Team Camp). Her African American former teammates will answer this serious accusation. (1st statement untruth, she was not the only African American gymnast training in the gym) We are good people. We never were knowingly involved in any type of bullying or racist treatment, like she is accusing Excalibur.”
Gabby Douglas is the reigning Olympic champion in the all-around, so we’re guessing she is glad things happened the way they did.