Gabby Douglas has had a rather unique childhood. But strip away the gold medals and the global attention, and you'll see that she's just like any other 16-year-old.
Douglas hasn't always been treated like such, though. The Virginia Beach native admits she was bullied by other gymnasts early on in life before eventually moving to West Des Moines, Iowa, to further pursue her Olympic aspirations. Douglas wanted her entire family to make the move, but she eventually moved away on her own, living with a host family while she chased her dreams.
Douglas, as you'd expect, gets a little bit homesick every now and then, but she was so adamant about moving away to hone her gymnastics skills that she even threatened to quit the sport she loves if she did not go through a change of scenery.
"I felt like I was bullied and isolated from the group, and they treated me not how they would treat the other teammates," Douglas recently said on Oprah's Next Chapter.
Douglas became the first black woman to win Olympic gold in the all-around event at this year's London Olympics. When you consider that, maybe she isn't all that normal after all. In many ways, she's supernormal. And that's something Douglas should be proud of, especially with all she's endured in her journey to greatness.
Gabby's gym responded.
Randy Stageburg, a former Senior International Elite and National Team member, told GymNewstics that Gabby's accusations "absolutely ridiculous." She trained at Excalibur for eight years and trained alongside Gabby for two of those years.
"The accusations that are being made against the gymnasts and coaches are just sickening," she explained. "Gabby was never a victim, in fact, many would say she was one of the favorites. I am not saying that she never felt bullied because when you are in a sport with a bunch of girls it is bound 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," she added. "Unless you were there to witness these so called racial acts against Gabby, I suggest you take your comments elsewhere because you sound ignorant. I also trained with Morgan Evans, Marcia Newby, Britney Ranzy and Sheriese Clark all of which were on the national team and are African American. I can assure you they all have nothing but great things to say about their experience at Excalibur."
Gustavo Moure, the president and CEO of Excalibur, explained how "hurtful and without merit" Gabby's comments were.
"We are good people," Moure said. "We never were knowingly involved in any type of bullying or racist treatment, like she is accusing Excalibur.
And the regular season hasn't even started yet.
Honestly, I was happy for him. It had gone too far here for him. I don't think it would have ever come back.
–John Lackey, discussing Josh Beckett in the wake of Saturday's blockbuster trade
Not a bad situation to be in.
Patriots now have Aaron Hernandez under contract through 2018 and Rob Gronkowski under contract through 2019.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 27, 2012
Chill out, Tony.