In a recent interview with Oprah, Gabby Douglas has spoken about how she was racially abused by fellow gymnasts during early training sessions in Virginia.
"I was just, you know, kind of getting racist jokes, kind of being isolated from the group. So, it was definitely hard. I would come home at night and just cry my eyes out."
"One of my teammates was like, 'Could you scrape the bar?'" the New York Daily News quoted Douglas recalling, adding: "And they were like, 'Why doesn't Gabby do it, she's our slave?'"
"I was the only African-American at that gym," Gabby went on, adding: "I definitely felt isolated.
Why am I deserving this? Is it because I'm black? – those thoughts were going through my mind."
Douglas appeared on "Oprah's Next Chapter" on Sunday with her mother, Natalie Hawkins, who recalled how her daughter told her about the cruel treatment meted out to her on several occasions.
"I'd rather quit – if I can't move and train and get another coach, I'd rather quit the sport,'" Hawkins recalled what her Gabby told to her.
Gabby's mother took that to heart and allowed her to move to Iowa to train with a new coach. Ironically, Gabby apparently received less racism in predominately White Iowa than she did in Virginia and from other Blacks criticizing her hair.