But Gabby, 16, did read the negative comments about her hair online and the stories about her mother. Take a look at her Facebook status Tuesday morning before her final competition:
She answered emphatically to reporters before her individual competitions that her hair style shouldn’t matter:
“I’m like, ‘I just made history and people are focused on my hair?’ It can be bald or short, it doesn’t matter about my (hair).”
It’s certainly a debate that her fellow American teammates are not dealing with. The “controversy,” which was certainly elevated in the media due to scores of passionate responses in Gabby’s defense — has nothing to do with the star gymnast’s performances. What’s unknown is how much the hair and bankruptcy stories impacted Douglas during her final two competitions. The physical toll and fatigue certainly weighed the heaviest — Douglas was the only gymnast on her team to compete in all events three separate times. But how much did the hair “controversy” and coverage of her mother’s financial troubles factor into her performance?
Douglas is not the first athlete — or gymnast, for that matter — to face criticism before, during or after the Olympics. She’s already accomplished something in one Olympics that no other gymnast has.
But this year’s London Games will not be remembered solely for Douglas’ golden performance — there will also always be a footnote detailing the bizarre sideshow that emerged following her historic wins.
Follow theGrio’s Todd Johnson on Twitter @rantoddj