Gabby Douglas Was Bullied at the Olympics & She's Handled It Like a Champ

Gabby DouglasIn case you needed proof that the world is getting a little meaner, this lovable Olympian has been bullied on multiple fronts at the 2016 games in Rio. Gymnast Gabby Douglas has been criticized about everything from her lack of patriotism to her hair -- and the woman who took the London Olympics by storm has had enough. 

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When the 20-year-old failed to put her hand over about heart during the national anthem, viewers pounced on her. Next, the woman formerly known as "the flying squirrel" was taken to task for not looking happy enough for her fellow teammates. (Seriously?? When Michael Phelps has his game face on, do people think he's secreting rooting against his team? Nope.)

As if this weren't enough, haters have even gone so far as to, once again, mock Douglas's hair. So, how is this impacting the young woman who's spent thousands of hours in the gym training to win a spot at these games? It hurts, of course.   

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Even as physically and mentally strong as the remarkable gold medalist is, she has been wounded by the words she's read about herself -- to the point that she's stopped reading them. According to the Guardian, she told reporters, "I've been trying to stay off the Internet because there's so much negativity."

Still, Douglas does not regret her choice to compete. In fact, she's using this experience to truly test her mettle. She said: 

When you go through a lot and you have so many people against you, sometimes it just determines your character. Are you going to stand or are you going to crumble? In the face of everything, you still stand and I have no regrets coming back. It’s been an amazing experience, an amazing journey so far, and it's teaching me a lot. It's teaching me so much.

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Gabby's message is one the world needs to hear. While the Olympic games once symbolized unity and the coming together of nations for a little friendly competition and goods sportsmanship, the Rio games have been plagued by racism, sexism, and even, bizarrely, fat-shaming

We love that Douglas, a world-class athlete, continues to serve as an amazing role model. Not only is she out there trying her best for her country, but her honest and open response to this bullying is also something every child needs to hear. Yes, it hurts, she acknowledges, but she's not about to allow anyone to bring her down. And that makes her a winner in our book, no matter what anyone says. 

 

 

Image via Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

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