Gabby Douglas shows off long, natural hair after years of backlash

Gabby Douglas revealed that her hair was in such bad shape that she experienced bald spots

Back in 2012, at a time where everyone should have been talking about Gabrielle Douglas taking home Olympic gold medals, the media instead seemed to be more transfixed on her hair. Now the history-making athlete is revealing how far she – and her hair -have come since then.

Thursday, Douglas posted a lengthy message on Instagram, titled “from the heart,” along with picture showcasing hair now waist length, natural hair.

Gymnastics - Artistic - Olympics: Day 4
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 09: Gabrielle Douglas of the United States poses for photographs with her gold medal after the medal ceremony for the Artistic Gymnastics Women’s Team on Day 4 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Rio Olympic Arena on August 9, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

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“From a very young age I always had to put my hair in a tight ponytail to do gymnastics and due to that my hair became completely damaged,” she begins.

“I had bald spots on the back of my head. I was so embarrassed and self-conscious that I put a bunch of clips over the spots to try and cover them up, but it was still noticeable. my hair grew a little, but shortly after, I had to cut all of my hair off because it was so damaged.”

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“I cried and cried and cried,” she says of that time in her life. “Most days I didn’t even want to go to the gym because I felt so embarrassed that all my hair was gone. I used to think: why can’t I have healthy hair? despite yet another challenge, I kept going.”

After alluding to the chapter in her story when “both Olympics and my hair was the topic of conversation,” she triumphantly explains, “Now here I am today – no extensions – no clip-ins – no wigs – no chemicals – all me. “

Douglas, 24, became a household name in 2012 when she became the “all-around champion” in gymnastics at the Olympic Games in London, England. Earlier this week she announced that she will be an ambassador for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. 

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