Superstar gymnast Gabby Douglas is on top of the world now as the bearer of two Olympic gold medals, but she continues to reveal painful memories from her days as a younger athlete at Excalibur Gymnastics in Virginia Beach.
Now 16, Douglas has already shared a memory of being called a "slave" by a laughing fellow teammate — a charge denied by reps for Excalibur. In a new interview with Vanity Fair, Douglas says that back in 2010, fellow gymnasts cruelly stole her shirt from the locker room — and laughed at her when she couldn't find the item. "You don't actually take by mistake someone's clothes," she tells the magazine.
Plus, Douglas says, at a party several years ago, an Excalibur staff member suggested she consider reconstructive surgery on her nose, claiming it appeared too flat — and other gymnasts had teased the future champ's appearance, she says. Douglas calls the nose job comment "very hurtful."
Dena Walker of Excalibur denies Douglas' nose job claim, calling it "a joke."
Douglas' mom, Natalie Hawkins, says that her daughter often kept to herself, and didn't reveal these incidents to her until recently. "I was flabbergasted," Hawkins tells Vanity Fair.
Douglas also felt estranged from her Excalibur coach, Gustavo Moure. "I didn't feel like he could take me to my full potential," she says, and eventually convinced her mom to let her train with Liang Chow in West Des Moines, Iowa, who helped Shawn Johnson become a champ.
"We did with Gabby far beyond what are our coaches' duties. We are proud of what we did," old coach Moure counters. "How is it possible . . . to not recognize that she reached [her] level with our help, our economic support, our passion and our love?"
These days, Douglas is celebrating her victory. The first thing she'd love to buy with endorsement deals? "I really want a car . . .An Acura NSX."
When asked by the interviewer, "Why not a Bentley?"
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"Oh yeah and a Bentley," she says, giggling. "I'm gonna get a Bentley too."
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