Gabby Douglas Wins Gold Medals, Everyone is Talking About Her Hair
So far, Gabby Douglas has won two gold medals in the 2012 Olympics. The 16-year-old gymnast won gold with her Team USA teammates for the women’s gymnastics team event. Yesterday, she became the first African-American to win gold at the women’s gymnastics all-around event.
President Obama called her to offer his congratulations. Even Samuel L. Jackson put forth his own extremely exuberant form of congratulations on Twitter:
“GABBY GOLD!GOLD!GOLD! U S GYMFUGGYNASTICS!!!! Go USA! Gabby’s got the GOLD in the Vault!”
She is an incredible athlete, as you can see in this video of her fantastic floor routine.
And apparently, we are very concerned about her hair.
While Gabby Douglas was out being amazing, winning gold medals, chatting on the phone with the POTUS, and scoring endorsement deals, the Internet was abuzz with criticisms of her hair. Whether it’s ‘too much gel’ or ‘too many pins’ or her ponytail, many people seem to have something to say about Gabby’s ‘do, which seemed pretty practical for the type of sport she was competing in.
This is reminiscent of another controversy that occurred earlier in the Olympics, in which Australia’s Herald Sun criticized Australian swimmer Leisel Jones (who has won eight Olympic medals over the course of her career) for “appearing heavier than at previous meets” and ran a poll asking readers of they thought she was too fat to swim in the Olympics.
“I swim in the pool, I don’t swim in the papers,” was her perfect response.
But Leisel is a grown woman who has been in the public eye for years. The same cannot be said for Gabby Douglas, who, at 16 years old, probably isn’t as well-equipped to deal with such unnecessary criticism of her body.
So before we decide to snark about athletes’ bodies for any reason other than their performance, let’s keep in mind the fact that these athletes devote their lives to training and competing in the games. Their shape, or their hair, or their makeup is none of our concern – the only thing they should be judged on is their ability to perform.