Let me start by saying this: Gabby Douglas is a gem. Not only is she a young entrepreneur (with her own Barbie), she's a go-getter and a certified badass when it comes to the beams and the floor. Her second go-round at the Olympics was bumpy, but nothing has been more upsetting than the unnecessary backlash she's received from trolls online.
The gymnastics all-around Olympic champion of 2012 was the first African-American woman in Olympic history to receive the title, and also the first Olympian in 40 years to come back to defend her all-around title in 2016. Although Douglas missed the opportunity by a hair, she helped USA take home the gold as a team.
And while she did what she does so well, she received a torrent of criticism that was completely irrelevant as to why she's even in Rio to begin with.
In an interview with ESPN, after her final post-Olympic interview of her final Olympic performance of her career, the stunning 20-year-old talent and beauty broke down into tears not out of joy, but out of pure exasperation from the ridicule.
"I tried to stay off the internet because there's just so much negativity," Douglas said just moments before, after being asked about the negative stories that had gone viral. "Either it was about my hair or my hand not over my heart [on the medal podium] or I look depressed. ... It was hurtful. It was hurtful. It was. It's been kind of a lot to deal with."
"I apologized if I offended anyone," she continued, directly speaking about the choice to not hold her hand to her heart. Still, she remains perplexed. "I've always said it was an honor to represent the U.S. You always do this for your country, and then, like people say, for yourself and other people."
ESPN then details the moments that occurred afterwards, that will rip anyone's heart apart. "After Douglas thanked everyone in the press area...she walked down the hallway at Olympic Arena. Then Douglas stood in a corner, facing a wall, and had a good, long cry. It was hard to watch. Every now and then, a Team USA worker took a look at her. Finally, a woman walked over and handed Douglas what appeared to be a Kleenex. The woman wrapped an arm around Douglas' shoulder and patted her a couple of times, then left the gymnast alone once more."
"What did she ever do to anyone?" is the jest of what her mother had to say in her defense to the Reuters.
Thankfully there's a new hashtag to stop the hate: #Love4GabbyUSA.
If you're ready to cry a few tears like I did, check out the hashtag and send the Olympic champion your love. We love you Gabby, girl! Keep setting the bar high and keeping the noise of those haters low.
[Photo: Getty Images]