Long before Gabby Douglas was attacked because of her hair, she was a victim of racial bullying. The two-time Olympic gold medalist appeared on Oprah’s Next Chapter last Sunday (Aug, 26), and opened up about her time at Excalibur Gymnastics in Virginia Beach, Va.
Douglas, who left her hometown at age 14 to be closer to the coach that she felt would take her to the Olympics, was taunted by the other girls in the gym who said things like, “Why doesn’t Gabby do it? She’s our slave.” The teen revealed that the bullying made her cry her “eyes out” at night.
Randy Stageburg, a one-time Senior International Elite and National Team member, trained with Douglas at Excalibur and refutes her claims. “Gabby was never a victim, in fact many would say she was one of the favorites,” Stageburg said. “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.”
Even though Stageburg was never named as being discriminatory against Douglas, the trainer has accused her of being a liar. “I never once heard her complain about girls being mean, funny how it is just now coming up. Also, not only does she owe the gym thousands of dollars but she owes [head coach] Dena [Walker] thousands as well.”
Of course Douglas has no reason to be deceitful in her accounts of what took place during her time at the gym, but has not responded to Stageburg’s explosive claims.
In the end, Douglas prevailed over her bullies, taking home two gold medals at the London games, and becoming the first Black woman to do so in a solo competition.
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