Ten years ago, when Gabrielle (Gabby) Douglas started training to realize her dream of becoming an Olympic gold medalist, chances are she was focusing more on nailing her gymnastics floor routine than conjuring up a beauty routine that would earn her a perfect ten (yeah, yeah, we know the scoring is different now–you get the point). Now, at age 16 and the first Black Olympian to win an all-around gold medal in the sport, Douglas is learning that some viewers expect her beauty routine to be as perfect as her floor routine.
Rather than applauding her victory, her fellow Americans—-many of whom are fellow African American women—-took to social media networks to critique the condition of her hair as opposed to commending her amazing lines or the unbelievable height that she reached in her tumbling passes.
All this gab about Gabby’s hair had us asking the exact question that the powerhouse herself asked in an interview with the AP: “What’s wrong with my hair?”
According to women’s artistic gymnastics (WAG) standards, gymnasts must keep their hair tidy and any unruly hairs that may distract the competitor could merit a deduction.
Seems to us like Douglas played by the rules. Her strands were slicked back and secured with several clips. The only thing “messy” about her ‘do was her bun- but wasn’t that the point? Douglas’ teammates, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross and Jordyn Wieber all flashed their undone buns to the cameras at the Games yet the fine-haired flippers didn’t seem to catch the overwhelming flack that Douglas was met with when logging onto her computer in London on the night that she added to her country’s growing medal count.
“Gabby’s hair served its purpose–it stayed out of her way so she could concentrate on executing the amazing leaps, flips and twists that led her to the all-around gold medal,” said Baze Mpinja, freelance beauty writer and creator of the blog Beautycism.com. “Even if her hair didn’t look ‘perfect’ by her critics’ standards, her contagious smile more than made up for that—she’s adorable!”
And Gabby’s not alone…