Skip to comments.Gabby Douglas' Ex-Gym Denies Claim of Bullying, Racism: "We Are Good People"
Posted on 08/27/2012 6:46:11 PM PDT by Arec Barrwin
Gabby Douglas' Ex-Gym Denies Claim of Bullying, Racism: "We Are Good People"
by Natalie Finn Today 4:54 PM PDT
Gabby Douglas told Oprah Winfrey that she had a different experience than her fellow gymnasts when she used to train in Virginiaand not in a good way.
But the head of her former gymnasium in Virginia Beach and the people she trained with maintain that they have no idea what Douglas is talking about.
"Gabby's remarks were hurtful and without merit," Excalibur Gymnastics CEO Gustavo Maure said in a statement to E! News in response to the 16-year-old's claim that she felt "bullied and isolated from the group," possibly because she Is black.
"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)," Maure continued. "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."
Another athlete who trained at Excalibur for eight years (two of them alongside Douglas, she said) stated that Douglas' comments were "absolutely ridiculous."
"The accusations that are being made against the gymnasts and coaches are just sickening," Randy Stageburg wrote to Gymnewstics.com. "I watched [head coach Dena Walker] and Gustavo put so much of their time and effort into gabby and the other athletes, no matter their race.
"Gabby was never a victim, in fact many would say she was one of the favorites," Stageburg continued. "I am not saying that she never felt bullied because when you are in a sport with a bunch of girls it is bond [sic] to happen. However, anything that she may have felt was never about race and I can assure you everyone at some point has felt bullied. I never once heard her complain about girls being mean, funny how it is just now coming up."
Additionally, the mother of a former Douglas teammate wrote on the gym's Facebook page that her daughter and the future Olympian were close friends and also posted a picture of the two girls.
"I don't claim to know everything that happened in the situation with the gym and and its gymnast who is now an Olympic athlete, but I do know that my daughter loved her like a sister for 7 years," wrote Kim Hedeland. "They were often partnered during training and slept in the same room during travel meets. They attended birthday parties and sleepovers together...My daughter says that she was one of her best friends at the gym and was very sad when she left."
"I wish to defend the children that trained with her and supported her when she attacks them with these allegations," Moure, the CEO, continued. "Is Gabrielle a credible person just because she is an Olympic Champion? She is not giving any names or dates, leading us to believe that the accusation is fake. This wouldn't be the first time that the media has made up a story. Thousands of gymnasts and families have supported our good conduct and our professionalism during the last 30 years."
Supporters of Douglas wrote on Excalibur's page, as well, with one woman writing, "I find it really gross that a gym run by, apparently adults, would come out of the gate and defame and publicly ridicule a 16-year old young woman for speaking of her experiences with other female gymnasts."
Reporting by Sharareh Drury
Did anyone really believe her, she started this crap on Oprah.
Sad really, she is an accomplished young woman, and these stupid claims will damage her.
And so it begins!
I wasn’t surprised. That is a cutthroat way of life. Anything will be said to gain an advantage.
You’ll notice they always hug each other like it is painful.
The last response is priceless: How dare you defend yourself against the accusations of a teen female protected class!
If you want on/off the VA Ping List, please freepmail me. Thanks!
Im not going to say that anybody is lying, because it may all be a contextual misunderstanding.
It may be that somebody used the word, “slave”, to mean work hard and sacrifice. Gabby may have understood the term in a different way.
Thanks, Oprah, for helping to ruin her career...
I wonder where she came up with the idea? /s
Gabby Douglas to Oprah: I was ‘bullied,’ called ‘slave’ during early gymnastics training in Virginia
Gabby Douglas, who took home the gold for her individual performance and for her work as part of the American team, tells the talk show host that things got so bad, she threatened to quit.
She recalled a specific example of racism. One of my teammates was like, Could you scrape the bar? she remembered. And they were like, Why doesnt Gabby do it, shes our slave?
I was the only African-American at that gym, Gabby went on. I definitely felt isolated. Why am I deserving this? Is it because Im black? those thoughts were going through my mind.
Gabby appeared on Oprahs show Sunday with her mother, Natalie Hawkins, who recalled how her daughter told her about the cruel treatment on several occasions.
Can’t say I’ve been riveted to this kerfuffle, but it looks like Big Okra and Little Gabby are overplaying their high stakes racial poker hand big time. Did they not envision someone might just call their bluff?
I had doubts about this story when I first heard it. I have been around quite a few hard core racists and I don’t think I ever heard them use the word “slave” when talking about black people. I’ve heard a lot of other terms but never “slave”.
Hey Oprah I’m sure your going to bring those people onto your show to defend their position!!! Not!!!!!!!
so when she praised God and had her straight etc the left hated her as did the black community but all of a sudden she now says this and now is in favor again, mmmmmmmm. what a massive coincidence and done on the racist Oprah
Oprah just may be evil.
So sad, Gabby could have been an olympic gold-medalist if she hadn’t have been a victim of white oppression.....oh, wait.....
And what about how low Winfrey has sunk since leaving her big-bucks network gig? Her solo ventures are flying about like a lead balloon.
"Don't you do it Gabby, unless you want to see Mom and Dad hanging from a tree... keep going to Excalibur, and they'll maybe stay alive."
I went to school in the South. One girl in our class was not very nice to anyone. She was standoffish and didn’t make an effort to socialize, instead preferring to have one friend while ignoring the rest of us.
So, in the 90’s, I am on a computer trying to find my childhood best friend on google and once successful, started looking up others in my class. I came across a link with this girl’s name. She was a guest speaker at a Jewish function. I read her bio and was stunned to find that she claimed that she was a victim of antisemitism growing up, specifically her classmates. Well, no one really knew what Judaism stood for, it was a religion and we didn’t discuss anyone’s religion. We knew who we saw in our pews and that was that. So, discussing this with my mother, she said the only way this woman could feel of any worth was to play the victim card. (Oh, and this woman also claimed she started the first synagoge in our town- another lie)
My point is that these things need to be taken at face value. If I was a teammate of Gabby’s, I would stand up to this if it was a lie. They are young and just starting in life and these charges will stick for a lifetime.
But, somewhere, MO is in the corner, arms crossed, smiling approvingly. She of the great racial divide.
Apparently somebody forgot to tell Gabby you wait until the multimillion dollar endorsement deals and appearance fees start to dwindle before playing the race card.
On the video at your link, it seemed that Oprah and Gabby’s mother brought up the subject. What a shame they had to bring it up. Maybe some bullying did occur - some bullying occurs everywhere to everyone. It’s a sad fact of life. But, by bringing it up, now they placed Gabby in the middle of a conflict.
The Joe Biden School of Gymnastics
looks like she has been well coached by Oprah and Michelle.
looks like she has been well coached by Oprah and Michelle.
Stupid of Gabby to start playing the race card. She appeared like a winner and now sounds more like a weak whiner.
It didn’t take Orca Windbag long to make it a racist issue. How dare a black do good without throwing racism into the mix.
Orca is an angry lesbian racist. She just had to make sure Gabby “represents”!
That is a strange coincidence isn’t it? Also maybe there IS something to the award ceremony where she didn’t look too proud during the Star Spangled Banner and it was mentioned here. Just saying... Maybe Gabby will have a Michelle Obama moment and say “I haven’t been proud of this country until I met Michelle Obama or Oprah Winfrey.”
This is the kind of crap that will eventually make people racists. It gets more unbearable every day.
Next on Oprah...
Gabby’s ‘Other Mother’ Missy Patron (where she lived in Iowa) is a racist too...
Well of course to have any cred in black society, one has to have been dissed and bullied sometime in the past no matter how successful and celebrated in the present.....
You are absolutely correct. I noticed those pathetic looking hugs myself. Only the US team seemed to have that problem. All the other nations seemed to have heartfelt, warm hugs for their team members. But the US, with their little fingertip pats on the back, looked awful.
I would not even try to judge whether the people at that gym were “good” or not, but I do believe people there may have said what they did for their own purposes.
I did not hear the part about her being the only African American in the gym. I need louder speakers. Because if she said that, it’s a big whopper. I am gonna have to change computers and listen again.
That’s a better clip of the interview. Again, I did not hear anything about Gabrielle Douglas being the only black gymnast in that gym. I wish they had the entire thing posted.
I have read a number of comments from her previous coaches, and I am so not impressed. I do not think they are racists, and neither Gabrielle nor her mother claimed they are. Gabby felt like she needed a different coaching style, and she pursued that. Money is a factor in all of this, and it is a shame that Excalibur coaches cannot rise above their anger that Gabby left them. They should be happy they trained her as long as they did and that she reached their goal for her. Now she can repay them. If they were more gracious, they could reap greater rewards by having her come to the gym. But they have been anything but gracious. They have acted like spoiled children who had their favorite toy taken away.
I noticed that about the national anthem, but I was hoping I was wrong. Good grief - this young lady had the chance to represent the US in London - stay with a Caucasian family who seem to have really cared about her.
Did I ever get teased - yes, and so did every one I’ve ever met.
Get over yourself Gabby and quit whining or your golden egged goose is gonna keel over.
The backbiting and undercutting are well-known in that circle. Nothing surprises me. I am surprised that people are surprised.
And comments are not going to help her gain endorsements. Can she be that stupid or was she talked into this by Oprah?
this country has become a country of people wanting to play victim.
When I used to watch the airhead bimbo Megyn Kelly she was saying she was bullied,
Everyone has been called a name, so what move on, it;’s a frigging name, big deal and if they let people fight back instead of ratting , then the bully will know who not to pick on.
Fed up of hearing how everyone plays the victim.The left and the homostapo does this all the time, They do these actions and then plays vctim.
African American, I hate that ignroant comment put out by the PC lefty crowd.
Whites are also African and Whites from African become American, thus they are really African American as well as blacks from Africa.
The blacks who have ancestors over here and born over here over a hundred years ago have no African in them.
Ah... Thanks for posting a link to more of the interview. The rest of what was said was a bit more balanced than the little bit we saw in the first clip. But the part about the other girls being a bad influence... well, that’s probably why the other parents are angry. It’s a shame the issue was even mentioned in a televised interview because it put this young girl in the middle of a conflict now.
I remember seeing an interview in which Gabrielle’s mother praised the mom in Iowa for embracing her daughter as one of her own. Maybe there really was some kind of problem at the first gym. Girls can be mean to each other, as we all know. ;-) But, to address the subject on TV... well... probably not a good idea.
The bad influence part is in reference to gymnastics form. Gustavo would have separated her because she was that much better than her same age peers. He did not want her to be like them. If other parents don’t like that then that is too bad. Elite gymnastics is Elite for a reason. The coaches at Excalibur are very good. But they have a history with Elite girls. Maybe Gabby would have made it with them coaching her. Gabby did. It believe that would have happened. And it all comes down to mental toughness in the end. She found that mental toughness elsewhere. Maybe she needed to be away from her family and her old gym in order to remove those little distractions from her mind. She might not even realize the part about her family. Regardless, Gabrielle Christina Victoria did the work, and she won. Good for her! Shame on Oprah!
That should have said Gabby did not believe . . .
Stupid auto correct. And stupid me for not reading what the computer wrote before I posted. LOL
Thanks for posting that additional information. Maybe Douglas, as a younger teen, misunderstood the coach’s intentions. And, if she was a favorite there, maybe there was some jealousy from the other students. Maybe that was the reason behind her feeling “isolated.” Who knows. But you’re right - shame on Oprah for bringing it up.
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