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Gabby Douglas’ former gymnastics teammates ‘fire back’ over racism, bullying claims

Washington, Aug. 29 (ANI): Afro-American gymnast Gabby Douglas’s former colleagues and coaches from Excalibur Gymnastics in Virginia are fighting back against allegations that she had suffered from racism and bullying during training with them

They said that if Gabby Douglas experienced any form of racism or bullying during her formative training years in Virginia, that’s news to Excalibur Gymnastics.

The Virginia Beach Gymnasium is fighting back against allegations that it or any of its coaches and gymnasts were racist towards Douglas.

“The accusations that are being made against the gymnasts and coaches are just sickening,” Excalibur’s Randy Stageburg said.

“Gabby was never a victim, in fact many would say she was one of the favorites. I never once heard her complain about girls being mean, funny how it is just now coming up,” Stageburg added.

According to the New York Daily News, Gabby Douglas won two gold medals in the recent London Summer Games and claimed about being racially abused in an interview with Oprah Winfrey.

In the “Oprah’s Next Chapter” interview, the 16-year-old athlete recalled how she had a tough time assimilating to the environment, which she claims was tinged with racism, the report said.

“I was just, you know, kind of getting racist jokes, kind of being isolated from the group,” she said, adding: “So it was definitely hard. I would come home at night and just cry my eyes out.”

Douglas’ mother Natalie Hawkins said said that the ill treatment got so bad that that Douglas almost threatened to quit the sport altogether if she couldn’t be transferred to work with another coach, the report said.

But Kim Hedeland, the mother of one of Douglas’ former teammates, said that the kind of bullying Douglas is describing simply didn’t exist, the report added.

“I don’t claim to know everything that happened in the situation with the gym and its gymnast who is now an Olympic athlete, but I do know that my daughter loved her like a sister for 7 years,” she wrote on the gym’s Facebook page. (ANI)

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