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
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