When we think about Gabrielle Douglas, we should think about the fact that she was a Black girl achieving amazing feats, breaking records, making historic wins, and taking home Olympic gold medals.
Instead, so much of the conversation surrounding her historic wins were centered around her hair.
At the time, Douglas was astounded by the criticism given all that she was accomplishing.
As we reported in 2012, she responded saying,
“I don’t know where this is coming from. What’s wrong with my hair? she said. “I’m like, `I just made history and people are focused on my hair?’ It can be bald or short, it doesn’t matter about (my) hair. Nothing is going to change,” she added. “I’m going to wear my hair like this during beam and bar finals. You might as well just stop talking about it.”
And then in another interview, she said:
“I don’t think people should be worried about that. We’re all champions and we’re all winners. I just say that it’s kind of, a stupid and crazy thought to think about my hair.”
Now, eight years later, Douglas is sharing that she been facing an uphill battle when it came to her hair. She shared her thoughts along with a picture of her growth on Instagram.
“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. 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.
i cried and cried and cried. 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. fast forward to the both olympics and my hair was the topic of conversation 🥺 now here i am today – no extensions – no clip-ins – no wigs – no chemicals – all me. 💕”
She included a picture of her hair these days, which appears long and healthy. You can check it out below.