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Gabby Douglas Hate - (Hopefully) An End

Discussion in '2016 Rio Olympics' started by CoachMeg, Aug 14, 2016.

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  1. Please read this article, whether you're aboard the Gabby hate-train or not (but especially if you are).


    I'm not saying she's perfect by any means, but I can no longer sit back continue reading the hateful attacks against her. Between Chalkbucket and Facebook, I read a new comment everyday that's criticizing something about her. She doesn't jump up and down in the stands, so she must not support her teammates....she doesn't put her hand over her heart while on the podium, so she must hate her country...she made a mistake on bars during her routine, so she didn't deserve to be in the bar finals....she didn't do well at Trials, so she didn't even deserve to be at the Olympics....this is all stuff I read on a daily basis (on here and from fellow gymnastics friends on Facebook). And as a community, I think we should do a better job at building up our athletes instead of attacking them for minuscule mistakes. Before you make your next comment or accusation towards Gabby Douglas, please keep in mind that she is YOUNG and being perceived in such a negative light (wrongfully so) around the world is extremely damaging to one's confidence/self-love.

    There are far more athletes that deserve to be put in a negative light for their actions: Hope Solo, for calling Sweden a "bunch of cowards" after losing, or even more so, Ray Rice, who's trying to make a NFL comeback.
    Not a 20 year old who, God forbid, sat down and clapped for her teammates - which apparently, is more news worthy.
    sewgood, Aero, Simaril and 16 others like this.
  2. This breaks my heart. I cried when I read the article. It's just horrible how people of her own country treated her. It WAS bullying. And she's an awesome gymnasts, truly incredible! Maybe the USA is doing so well that negative people needed something to complain about. NOT saying that's an acceptable excuse.
  3. This is what I've been saying all along. You don't have to like her but don't be mean. We have no idea what is going on in her head or her life. She is an Olympic champion, two time team champion, and is a young woman who has feelings.
  4. What someone else said on a previous thread about her being introverted rang true for me.

    My dd is the same. She supports her team mates, will clap and cheer, but politely rather than enthusiastically. She will run up to someone to congratulate them, but hangs back while the huggers and jumpers get their stuff out the way.

    She has done a few comps up an age group- kids 11, and in the 13 year old bracket the girls will hug each other on the podium. She refuses- not rudely, but will stand awkwardly while they try to hug her, or if she's won she just gets up on the podium bypassing the hug for 2nd and 3rd. I've always taught her her body is her own, and any physical contact is entirely optional, so leave it as her choice. At the moment people find it funny as she's that bit younger.

    Gabby is so young and doesn't have the experience to brush off or challenge it.

    Bradley Wiggins stuck his tongue out during our anthem. Most were delighted as it'll p** off Piers Morgan after his 2012 comment about showing respect....;)
    BachFlyer, Jenny, CoachMeg and 3 others like this.
  5. Way back when I got invited to the competitive team, I was in a phase where I didn't like anyone touching me (in addition to being super introverted). I was spotted, of course, but I refused to participate in hugging the coaches after practice even though every else did it for at least a couple of months. That didn't mean I didn't like my coaches, or being there.
    I've also experienced bullying, so while I stayed out of the whole Gabby discussion so far, I feel compelled to say something now. As others have mentioned, I'm guessing most of us don't know Gabby personally and it's too easy to judge people, other human beings, from a distance when we really have an extremely limited view on their life. We tend to notice flaws over strengths anyway. No need to throw more wood into that fire.
    Aero, Sneezyone, BachFlyer and 5 others like this.
  6. I just do not think it is fair to refer to what is for the most part legitimate criticism as "Gabby hate." Gabby came to Rio at the age of 20 as an adult, an athlete and a professional (endorser of products for sponsors). She failed at the latter two. She did not meet the expectations of her on the team (Ashton Locklear would likely have medaled in EFs) or, rightly or wrongly, in her decorum and projected attitude. Gabby has had 4 years in the spotlight. Thats long enough to learn how to behave when the cameras are on you.

    Like it or not media can be harsh when you are in the public eye. Its not "bullying," its just the reality of being in the public eye. She rode the train when it was going well for her and now she has to do the same when it is not going well for her.
    tumbletop, ECMama, Lisbeth and 3 others like this.
  7. And sorry, but claims that people are "bullying" Gabby are not at all fair. There is a world of difference between making even harsh critical or negative observations about a pro athlete who made tons of money from being in the spotlight and "bullying." Being critiqued (even harshly) is just the price you pay for that.

    Gabby and her family have always rubbed some people the wrong way. People have a right to express their opinions without being labeled "bullies." Personally, I agree with much of the criticism. But right or wrong it is the price they are paying for the fame they accepted when it was going in their direction.
    tumbletop, Flyaway, ECMama and 6 others like this.
  8. I missed comments that were removed. Why can't we say anything less then wonderful about Gabby?
    I personally feel for Gabby. She is not free, pressured by obligations. She never had a chance to discover who she is as a person. Perhaps this recent media crisis will help her in the long run.
  9. Definitely the Gabby hate has gone too far. Time to rise up and support one of the best gymnasts the USA has created. Period....
    It must be so hard to grow up so scrutinized.....
  10. Thank you Terry. I always try to set an example for my girls and say I don't like So and So's behavior. When they say "You hate Susie" I respond. I don't like Susie's actions or Susie's words or I don't like how Susie treats them or me.

    In this case, I don't hate Gabby. I do think she should have matched her team on the medal stand , what she calls "standing at attention" I think was slouching. Gabby's actions made her look bad. Gabby even admitted in one the sad articles that she didn't show her support for her teammates. She is a public figure and introvert or not ( and I'm one too) she is in the public eye ( I could not be).

    To compound the problem, she stood in the corner of the media room and had a long cry. Is there no where else she could go? Why didn't someone take her to somewhere private?

    So I don't hate Gabby and I'm not a bully. I feel her actions in public are subject to scrutiny and I'm not impressed with them.
  11. There are definitely bullies in the internet world! I don't think it's fair to say to people who get bullied that there isn't.

    Do you think this is just constructive critisism?

    'She's had to deal with people criticizing her hair, or people accusing her of bleaching her skin. They said she had breast enhancements, they said she wasn't smiling enough, she's unpatriotic. Then it went to not supporting your team mates. Now you're 'Crabby Gabby',' Hawkins told Reuters in an interview.

    'You name it and she got trampled. What did she ever do to anyone?'

    None of that 'critisism' is about actual gymnastics. It's about her look and facial expressions. Do you wish something like this for your children? It's not illegal to say those things about other human being but where is everyone's emphaty?

    We try to teach our gymnasts and our children to respect others and not say everything we think out loud if it's not constructive and delivered in a nice way. Why don't we as adults remember that on the internet world?
    Aero, Sneezyone, BachFlyer and 8 others like this.
  12. I feel bad for the poor kid, she just seems so miserable. And I don't know if it's the criticism, the pressure, not actually wanting to be doing this whole thing or something totally different, or maybe that's just her personality. I'm extremely introverted and I know I've been told that it's hard to tell whether or not I'm having fun, not because I scowl or anything, but because I'm not crazy over the top excitable. But when something really good happens, you can tell I'm pleased. I really do feel for Gabby if she is indeed unhappy and doing this for someone else. I hope she has good people around her who don't care about medals, sponsorships, endorsements, income, or any of those extras to build her up and be with her through all of this. Because if she wasn't unhappy before, she certainly has stuff to be unhappy about now that will require group of GOOD people around her to build her up.

    I also think it's okay for athletes to show disappointment without being labeled as unsportsmanlike and hate when athletes are given a bad name for showing human emotion. Of course she was disappointed! No sense hiding that, she's not some kind of robot permanently set to happy. But there is a time and a place. Shed a few tears, sulk with your family/coaches/friends, throw your grips in some back room if you need to, but then come back and at least act happy for your teammates. You can cry and be disappointed with yourself while still being happy for your teammates. I think we've all been in those situations.

    That being said, Gabby made a choice to try to make herself a marketable personality. She did not have to do that. Other gymnasts/athletes (Kyla Ross comes to mind, Katie Ladecky seems to fall into this group) have acknowledged they don't have the personality/desire to keep up with appearances and just do their talking through their sport. It doesn't bring in the money, but it lets them do what they love to the best of their ability without worrying about everything else. For those who choose to market themselves, they need to be aware of that. Aware that they are always under a microscope. And I think part of Gabby's marketability the first time around was her sweet, bubbly personality which is notably absent this time around which is cause for concern. Is it a reason for people to bully her and label her as "un-American" or other bad names? Absolutely not, because no one but Gabby knows the whole story, but I do think it's something she needs to be aware of and recognize how it's coming across.
    Aero, MomIdidit!, CoachMeg and 4 others like this.
  13. So many of these girls have been criticised harshly. Remember the lashing out at Jordyn Wieber when she cried openly after not making AA in 2012? She pulled herself together and pulled out a stellar performance on Team finals. She did not scold people for "bullying" her. Simone has had to deal with completely unnecessary coverage of her biological mother's situation. (what the heck does that have to do with gymnastics???). She ignores it. She does not cry "bullying." Simone also dealt with those comments by the Italian gymnasts after worlds a few years ago. Both she and her family dealt with it with grace.
    I'm sorry, but Gabby and her family have not dealt with the fame well. They have not behaved with grace and decorum. They have not acted in generous ways towards others. They have had issues with every coach they worked with. I could go on and on. I will not.
    But calling people who make less than stellar comments about gabby and her family "bullies" is unfair.
    tumbletop, MomIdidit!, ECMama and 3 others like this.

  14. Mod note - Comments have not been removed in this thread. Comments were removed in another thread for being off topic.

    Have at the discussion. Just stick to the rules. Also think about the 14 year olds that are reading this please.

    On a non mod note - I think the Gabby hate (call it what you like but it sure sounds like hate) has gone on too long. Sure she made mistakes, but it has got to the point where she is being stared at under a magnifying glass and every move she makes is wrong. My son works in the public eye and I can tell you the negativity he has dealt with at times has beaten him to a pulp mentally, leaving him unable to function. People do not think about how words hurt. Is the constant criticism beneficial to the team or Gabby in any way?

    I would hate to see the CB go down the GGMB path where we choose to shred the lives of the gymnasts we claim to support. Should their off podium behaviour be judged in the way we judge their on podium behaviour? Yes she had a mistake on bars, any of the team could have had that happen. Does that make her guilty of a crime to be judged? Her being chosen for the team and AA may well have been pushed for, and influenced, by the PTB above Nat Team camps, but that still does not mean we can hate on a 20 year old.
    #14 bogwoppit, Aug 15, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2016
    Aero, Sneezyone, BachFlyer and 12 others like this.
  15. I will say I am not a Gabby fan. I respect her as a gymnast and I think the media and the critics have been harsh on her. I also think she tends to play the victim. She claimed bullying when she left Excalibur, she claimed bullying when she did not perform well on UB at the last Olympics. They may be true, but maybe it is her perception of things when situations don't go her way and she needs to find someone else to blame. For me she has turned into the gymnast who has cried wolf. :(

    Either way, she is a young girl who has accomplished great things, and I hope that while this experience is uncomfortable and unpleasant, that like other young people who have to deal with harsh critics in the public eye, she will use this as an opportunity to grow and learn. She represented USA well and deserves to be honored for those accomplishments. Unfortunately history tends to remember the controversy/scandal not the awards.
    tumbletop, MomIdidit!, esor and 2 others like this.
  16. The hands not over her heart during national anthem.... That's a thing for her right? I swear this has happened more than once. Perhaps there is personal reasoning against it that she does not wish to share.

    That said, she unfortunately did put herself into this position. While I do think she's an amazing gymnast, I also think that -right or wrong- there's an expected standard of behavior.

    I mean, we even sign team contracts in our gyms, right? And they cover expected behavior? Not that it's "our" place to judge that.

    So, I'm not saying Gabby is a bad person because of her hair (awful thing for people to pick on), or her lack of placing her hand over her heart, or her not jumping up to cheer (did I read that she'd been eating somewhere?), or the fact that she didn't medal in bars TF (for her, I really wish she had to shut people up), being such a focus (past Olympian, defending AA gold, etc) Brings some looks through a magnifying glass -right or wrong- come with that. And kids look up to Olympians. While criticism of public figures comes with the territory of being in the public, the level of vitriol fir these things has been ridiculous.

    I was 100% with her on thus until until her mom's article (Natalie's). While YES, racism is an awful thing that infuriatingly exists, I was a little surprised by the accusation, especially as Simone is the sport's current IT girl. I'm sure there's some of that truly happening, which I don't understand at all, but is that actually the primary driving force? Given the current state of the US, I can't help but worry that Natalie's article will further inflame things?

    It's unfortunate that Gabby's behavior and personality are reduced to a few snippets of video/photographs. That's not fair, but unfortunately, that's often the life of an Olympian. Hopefully we can all understand that a few chosen segments of video/photographs throughout each of our days would make each one of us look like awful humans.

    The online bullying (of anyone) is bs and unfair. One has to wonder whether some of this is leftover from Jordyn Wieber? Or being partially driven by current social tensions in general? Either way, the bullying is bs and I hope it stops. I agree that the focus should be on gymnastics... If we ran USAG or a club, then YES, we can be concerned about behavior and image, but must of us don't.

    I wonder if this will be worse or better in 2020, with fewer "team" member slots + two specialists. I don't think the Mykayka Skinner stuff helped this.

    Edit: Also, if she's an introvert, I feel her pain. Life is often hard enough to navigate as one...
  17. Gabby's mother is a whole other bag of fish. It seems that she brings more trouble down on Gabby's head by not keeping her mouth closed.
  18. I'll echo what others have said. When she decided to "go pro" she opened herself to extra scrutiny. I'm sure there are people who have said unfair hateful things about her. BUT I haven't seen anything on here that reads as hateful, some comments have been deleted so it's possible I missed them. The mod has mentioned several times about 14 year olds reading the comments here. I have a gymnast in that age range and they are talking about Gabby among themselves. They have said the same things that others have said here (but they aren't reading online articles, they are just evaluating her behavior) My daughter said "I wouldn't want to be one of the companies sponsoring her" It's sad and clearly Gabby doesn't see or understand what she has done or hasn't done, just as many here don't see it. But as some have said these are "first world problems" she will be just fine
  19. I was disappointed with the choice to put her on the team, given recent results and the scoring at the trials, but that's not as much about her as it is the fact that I wanted to see some others that performed really well be rewarded for that. Seemed like Marta either had her mind made up already, or there was some kind of other arrangement. Given the amount of time the announcers spent justifying why she'd be chosen during that (extra long) 15 minutes that night, it struck me as prearranged. To me, that sends a terrible signal to aspiring gymnasts.

    I support her as a USA team member and root for her, same as the others. I imagine some of the hate comes from how selection played out, much like the bitterness that has followed the contested presidential primaries.
    tumbletop and FlippinLilysMom like this.
  20. I totally believe it was pre arranged, and that trials is just a money making event and had nothing to do with the team selection.
    tumbletop, Tbrov, IK'sMom and 6 others like this.
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