Gabby Douglas’ Mom Tells Hair Haters To Back Off

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This morning, Olympic gold medalist gymnast Gabby Douglas posted a heartbreaking message on her Facebook page:

Whew I finally got some good rest after having to deal with some of this negativity. First my hair – then my mom. I guess no one could wait till we finished competing so that we could keep our concentration and focus. But you know what one more final to go! Ladies let’s make it count!!!! LET’S GET EM!! #USA #beamfinals #floorfinals Pray for us! ♥ Gabby

She’s referring to the lambasting she’s received for her mother having filed for bankruptcy to handle her debts and for her hair not being sufficiently smothered in chemicals or otherwise tortured into something that some people think more appropriate for a teenage girl who is trying to focus on her sport and meet its requirements. Other people have tried to go after her for — and sadly I’m not kidding here — her faith in God.

It’s sad that people always want to knock people down when they’re flying high. But boy are they trying. Twitter has erupted with nasty comments about Gabby.

But her mama bear Natalie Hawkins is defending her big time. She says the comments that her daughter’s hair is “unkempt” and “embarrassing” are ridiculous. She’s right – her hair looks exactly like a gymnast’s hair should — pulled back off her face.

NBC reports:

When Hawkins spoke about the hair controversy to, she said that she herself was once guilty of prioritizing her daughter’s hair before her training, and had to be reminded that it had nothing to do with her career. “It was actually her coach who told me that,” she said. “I was trying to get her into a hair appointment and I wanted to move her training schedule around and he said to me, ‘She’s beautiful. You don’t need to change her hair. We need to focus on training.’”

It is also true that Gabby lives with a host family in Des Moines, Iowa, where she trains. They’re white and there aren’t black hair salons in their area, Hawkins says.

For what it’s worth, Douglas showed great perspective in interviews this week, saying, “I just made history and people are focused on my hair? It can be bald or short; it doesn’t matter about hair.”

Well said. And congrats on a great Olympics, Gabby.