The 2016 Olympics haven’t been kind to Gabby Douglas. At 20 years old, she already has three gold medals under her belt: two from London’s 2012 games, and one from Rio. But after internet trolls scrutinized every detail — from her hair and facial expressions to how she stood during the national anthem — perhaps those accolades don’t shine as brightly as they used to.
“When they talk about my hair or me not putting my hand up on my heart or me being very salty in the stands, they’re really criticizing me, and it doesn’t really feel good,” a tearful Douglas told The Washington Post last weekend. “It was a little bit hurtful.”
The rest of the U.S. gymnastics “Final Five” team — Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Madison Kocian, and Laurie Hernandez — haven’t experienced this degree of cyberbullying. Yet as the world watches, Douglas handles the combined stress of competition and social media with dignity and grace.
THANK YOU! pic.twitter.com/Q2xb11GkMX
— Gabrielle Douglas (@gabrielledoug) August 8, 2016
Since the internet’s been a garbage hellfire to Douglas lately, let’s rewind to 2012, when she won the gold for individual all-around gymnast. Then she took her flips to the VMAs stage, where she performed alongside Alicia Keys and Nicki Minaj.
To start, Keys belted out “Girl on Fire” with an assist from Nicki. Then Douglas made her grand entrance, which put every cartwheel you’ve ever done to shame.
Minaj even crafted a badass rap especially for the occasion: “I ain’t tryna be that / Haters wanna see that / But I got ’em aggy / ‘Cause I win the gold like Gabby.” 💪
She ended with a series of show-stopping back flips, because forward flips aren’t fancy enough. So whenever the haters gonna hate, rest assured that Gabby Douglas can always
shake flip them off.
The 2016 MTV VMAs featuring performances from Rihanna, Britney Spears and G Eazy will air Sunday, August 28 at 9E/6P on MTV.