UPDATE: Gabby Douglas leads Team USA to the Gold

1 Aug

I purposely titled this essay to highlight Gabby Douglas’ leadership of the USA Women’s Gymnastics Olympic Team, which she led to victory yesterday, by capturing 33% or 1/3 of the total points  the team received.

You heard right. This kid, who commentators continue to suggest is “unable to handle the pressure,” was the only member to compete in all four events — vault, bars, beam, and floor.

So though she’s only 1/5 of the team, she did 100% of the events, and captured 1/3 of the points.

Of course she didn’t get 33% of the coverage, or even a quarter of the love her teammates got.

During the medal ceremony the camera panned to and stayed with Jordyn, ofttimes obscuring Gabby’s face. Commentators were exultant about Jordyn’s gold medal. “Jordyn’s gold.” As though there were a medal with her name already engraved on it or something.

But um…

The Olympics trades in Gold Medals, not Gold Stars! Put another way, there are no “A’s for effort.”

I want to be clear. I have nothing but love for Jordyn. She’s the reigning world champ. She’s mega talented, and she showed up for Team USA in a major way yesterday. I do not want to diminish her accomplishments in any way in this post.

But I take serious issue with the media’s coverage of her accomplishments and the sense of white entitlement that permeates that coverage. The coverage magnifies Jordyn’s victories, while minimizing Gabby’s. And it isn’t right. Not to mention that it is classic passive aggressive white racism. (Yeah, I said it.) The kind that injures not by heaping insults but by failing to grant recognition, when it has power to do so.

Gabby didn’t receive the low score in any of her four events, and she received the highest score in two of them (beam and bars). (See all scores here. Click on the plus out to the side for individual scores in each event.) Gabby outscored Jordyn on each of the three events they competed in yesterday, and she outscored Aly in one of two events. She didn’t put up one score less than a 15.066 in any event.

The first to do floor, Gabby’s performance received a score of 15.066. Solid. I literally waited on the commentators to find anything good to say about the routine. *Crickets* They said virtually nothing. And then Jordyn performed. They were glowing with accolades and affirmations for her, in a routine that was technically less difficult than Gabby’s. When the scores came back, Jordyn had a 15.000. And you could almost hear the disappointment, not at Jordyn’s solid score, but that it was lower than Gabby’s.

I guess I should be happy that at least this time, the media found it appropriate to actually pan to some shots of Gabby’s family watching in the audience. But unlike her counterparts, they never said who those three Black people were. I guess we could just Match them up based on skin tone. Contrast that with the fact that every time they panned to Aly’s or Jordyn’s parents, there would be some commentary about their reactions.

I am extremely proud of team USA. I hope that is clear. I watched the Magnificent 7 win Gold in 1996. Most of these girls were barely toddlers then! After the interview, they talked about the 2004 Olympics as their most memorable one. Made me feel O.L.D. So it was truly awesome to watch us return to that former glory. And these girls deserve every bit of shine they get.

And I am determined at least in this space that Gabby will get her just due.

Because let’s be clear.

Gabby showed up for her team in each and every event, and in Black vernacular, she showed out! But that reminds me of some more ol’ school Black wisdom, too– “you have to be twice as good, to get half as far.” Every Black kid hears this at some point in her lifetime. It still rings true. And what our parents don’t say is that even then, you still might be invisible. Invisible, that is,  in your accomplishments. Your flaws won’t be treated half so graciously.

Anyway, brush your shoulders off, Gabby. (Check her doing just that at the 1:02 mark!)


They may not see you coming, Gabby. But know this. We see you! We SEE you!  And we are cheering you on! #yougotthis

186 Responses to “UPDATE: Gabby Douglas leads Team USA to the Gold”

  1. Sarah August 1, 2012 at 6:43 AM #

    Thank you for this, it’s a beautiful and much-deserved tribute.

    • Jessica August 1, 2012 at 11:47 AM #

      I love you for writing this well deserved article. Thank you. These were my feelings exactly especially after becoming ENRAGED with the way they spoke of this magnificent athlete during the all around qualifications. Jordyn legit stood in FRONT OF HER DURING THE GOLD CEREMONY last night! My boo stated, “Gabby needs to be front and center.. she contributed more to this gold than anyone”. Ok, done ranting. Thanks again.

      • viste07 August 1, 2012 at 6:41 PM #

        Amen! I couldn’t agree more.

    • Christopher Rose August 1, 2012 at 3:37 PM #

      THANK YOU! Now how do we give NBC the public wrist-slap it so richly deserves?

      • Jessica August 1, 2012 at 6:48 PM #

        Twitter… I think. I tweeted this blog with #NotcoolNBC This could totally trend and make them think about what they’ve been doing 😉

      • Maxine August 1, 2012 at 7:35 PM #

        Gabby was responsible for Team USA’s gold medal win, but she is not getting the recognition she deserves. I don’t like them calling her, “The Flying Squirrell”. That is pure racism. How can we contact NBC? Maxine

      • Emilie M August 4, 2012 at 7:50 AM #

        I agree that NBC needs to see how damaging this is to our society, and especially to young women with dreams who are at-risk to giving up too soon because of this attitude. But, the Flying Squirrel is a nickname Gabby got in training when she was young because of how she mastered the bars.I could be wrong, but I don’t think it was a racial thing.

  2. bluegirljoy August 1, 2012 at 7:00 AM #

    Reblogged this on Hope, Love, Joy.

  3. KG August 1, 2012 at 7:01 AM #

    I thought I was the only one who felt like she was “shafted” after her performance (in the floor exercise – I missed everything else). Like you said, it’s not that she failed – she simply wasn’t recognized! Which, to me, is just as hurtful! Not to mention the numerous shots of the woman (obviously Jordyn’s mom) sweating through her jacket. Gabby took to the floor gracefully, had fun with her routine and showed NO signs of the pressure she was “unable to handle.” She essentially clenched the gold for the US and the commentators might as well have just tossed her a biscuit and said, “Good Girl..” Disgusting 😦

  4. shineon August 1, 2012 at 7:11 AM #

    Dag, Great commentary! I honestly thought I was the only one who picked up on the media stealing Gabby’s shine. She consistently scored higher than Jordyn, but at every turn it was mentioned that Jordyn led team USA to victory! I got nothing but love but Jordyn, and it certainly was a team effort, but wouldn’t the person with the highest points be considered the leader? On top of that Gabby is moving on to the all around competition which was barely mentioned, but we were constantly reminded that Jordyn failed to garner a spot. Team USA deserves all the accolades they get and then some, but the lack of praise for Gabby is definitely disappointing.

  5. jalylah August 1, 2012 at 7:17 AM #

    “She’s only 1/5 of the team, she did 100% of the events, and captured 1/3 of the points.” Thanks for pointing this out. At moments, I started to think I wasn’t hearing the scores correctly due to the discrepancy in commentator enthusiasm for Gabby’s performances as compared to the others. And I also wanted them to speak on Gabby’s family! I know they had to include her mother and her sister but they just refused to identify or elaborate on those three women. I want to hear more about Gabby’s immediate family and Iowa family. I want to hear about her military father and his deployment situation. When she wins the all around gold, they will have to tell me more. Also, it’s interesting the extent to which her success was framed by the advice of her teammates. The commentators kept harping on how they were screaming “normal” at her like she was fixing to get out there and jump jim crow. It seemed like “normal” was a refrain amongst the teammates to each other but they only seemed to call attention to it in Gabby’s case. That said, I love all them girls and I’m happy they triumphed.

    • Kay August 1, 2012 at 7:51 PM #

      aaaaamen!! totally agree!! such a double standard!!

  6. Laura August 1, 2012 at 7:18 AM #

    Thank you for your detailed analysis of how race plays into U.S. Olympic coverage. I can’t wait for Gabby to leave the commentators speechless on the individual all-around! Thought you might like to know that Kyla Ross – the other non-white gymnast on the team – has often been noted to have an “international look” by commentators… underscoring Ngai’s assertion that citizens of any Asian heritage are “permanently foreign.” Kyla is actually a quarter black, Puerto Rican, Filipina, and Japanese. Not one pan out to her parents, not one comment about her achievements. I guess when you’re “international,” you just blend in with all the other non-white, and therefore non-“American”, Olympians. Subtly promoting white supremacy and nationalism – NBC clearly understands the spirit of the Olympic games!

    • crunktastic August 1, 2012 at 7:41 AM #

      Yes! Thanks for your analysis of Kyla. I noticed that ish about her “looking international,” too and found it annoying. Forgive me for not saying more about Kyla in this piece. She deserved some coverage here.

      • Chanda August 1, 2012 at 7:44 AM #

        I’ve been pretty disappointed by the Black blogging community’s unwillingness to own Kyla or the subtleties of what whiteness actually meant on this team. There was only one white girl on the team. Kyla and Jordan, and most especially all the women who are like them in appearance and identity, deserved better.

      • crunktastic August 1, 2012 at 9:59 AM #

        Um, you have some denial issues around the operations of race in the US if you think McKayla, Aly, and Jordyn move through the world as anything other than white girls (even though their various ethnic contexts may complicate that narrative a bit.) So I’m disappointed and disheartened with your comment, and I shall NOT debate whether the white girls are indeed white. Have that discussion somewhere else.

      • crunktastic August 1, 2012 at 10:02 AM #

        And in my first post, I ‘owned ‘ Kyla. Interesting language choice. But because she is multiracial I didn’t want to presume upon the racial categories that she identifies with. I celebrate diversity, but I’m not going to manufacture it.

      • Chanda August 1, 2012 at 7:49 AM #

        I should add that I am aware that Aly is Jewish and therefore would be classified as white by some people, but I’m Black and Jewish and my boyfriend and I both noted last night that if Aly and I were to walk down the street together and tell people that we were sisters, no one would bat an eye. She’s brown enough that she must have her own racialized experience, not to mention that being Jewish still comes with its issues with white supremacy in this country (as well as some privileges). I’m all for calling out pride in Blackness and attacking the tent of whiteness, but what was great about this particular team was that they represented a new America, and that was something to get excited about. The commentators represent an old America, and fuck them, and we should give them hell. But we shouldn’t forget to celebrate how incredibly and beautifully diverse this team was, not because diversity makes us feel good but because America is diverse and representation that reflects that is what is _right_. The fact that several people on the team crossed multiple ethnic lines in appearance and heritage is worthy of noting and not minimizing into lines of Blackness and whiteness. It is that simple and not that simple at the same time, and that should be acknowledged.

      • Witchsistah August 1, 2012 at 8:06 AM #

        I don’t see how Black bloggers or Black people are obligated to tout the praises of every group under the sun especially since those groups rarely reciprocate when it comes to us. But Blacks are supposed to be everyone’s damn Mammy. God forbid we boost OURSELVES! No, we niggers ain’t good enough for that. We’re not good enough to get any credit on our own. If we get ANY praise or give ourselves any, we’d better share with the rest of the class while they hoard from us.

    • KP August 1, 2012 at 12:40 PM #

      Just an FYI, “international look” is gymnastics commentator speak for “thin body, can point her toes, nice lines, dances like a Soviet from the 80s”. When Nastia Liukin was competing, she was often cited as having an “international look”. So while I agree there are issues with the way in which NBC handles race in commentating, that one’s probably not a good example.

      • Meredith Charpantier August 2, 2012 at 5:30 AM #

        The international judges like gymnasts thin, apparently. How about the US commentators who kept on harping on it. How do they like their gymnasts. I was disgusted by the attention that was drawn to her figure during the trials. Talent is what counts. And here is the opp. to celebrate talent and hard work in all shapes sizes colors and heritage mixes.

      • Saidah Ali August 2, 2012 at 9:32 PM #

        Okay, but as a gymnast, this is valid. I’m not sure about artistic gymnastics, but in acrobatic gymnastics, at international meets, there’s literally a category called “physical preparedness,” commonly referred to as “shape.” International judges want to see a certain look on the floor, and if they don’t get it, they’ll take points.

      • de Pizan August 6, 2012 at 3:28 PM #

        Meredith, I can’t find exact quote as I don’t have cable to access NBC’s online coverage; but there was a point where they were talking about how muscular the American team was in comparison with earlier teams, or the current Russian team. Douglas was up, and one of the commentator’s said something along the lines of how she looked almost beefy/chunky in comparison. I was absolutely appalled.

      • Gigi August 6, 2012 at 5:46 PM #

        This isn’t just a Gabby thing, though. The “light, thin” preference has been around for a long time. Just read comments from Shawn Johnson about her struggles with her athletic/stocky build, and Dominique Dawes’ confirmation that it’s an issue in gymnastics internationally. The preference is for the Nastia Liukin or Svetlana Khorkina look. Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber have more athletic builds. It’s just another barrier they have to break down versus someone like Russia’s Komova. Honestly, gymnastics is really f’ed up. And NBC’s announcers for gymnastics are horrid. A large part of people’s issues with the coverage can be traced to how awful those two are. (Elfi and Tim. Al Trautwig is just there to add gravitas and ask the questions people at home are asking.)

  7. Sherry Hernandez August 1, 2012 at 7:41 AM #

    I had no idea until I read this article. I am grateful for articles like this one that points out concisely and plainly the inequality that some deal with everyday. Now I wonder why. Why would they push one athlete over another, when they are both beautiful athlete’s with excellent skills. We should have equal pride for their accomplishments and for their families who support them. Hopefully, articles like this one will bring light to the situation.

    • Anna August 1, 2012 at 11:18 AM #

      Thank you. This is PROFOUNDLY important, and I felt this, too, in the interviews with the families. They didn’t seem to give proper recognition of the sacrifices of Gabby’s mother (and sisters, no doubt) have made to make Gabby’s accomplishments possible. I’ve been also just frustrated at the interviews of young, entitled (and white, male), Michael Phelps, where he hoards all the un-warrented glory being showered on him. How many athletes of color and female athletes have been the darling of the olympics over time? Really? Just because he was dominant in his field for 2 olympics he might just be the best athlete the United States has *ever* known? And I’m sick of young Phelps acting as though it’s true. PLEASE. It just feels so insulting and wrong and the conversation feels so utterly incomplete, and steeped in white privilege . . . male privilege.

      • Jessica August 1, 2012 at 3:31 PM #

        I am totally for Gabby (see my comment above that I left hours ago) but the Phelps thing.. I don’t think it’s white male entitlement.. He has earned the most Olympic medals EVER in the HISTORY of the Olympics. That’s a big deal regardless of his gender or race. He also has earned more medals than like 57 countries.. that’s impressive. How Gabby is being treated in all of this however, is not impressive and I hope this outstanding athlete is given the opportunity to be in the lime light that she deserves.

      • erin August 9, 2012 at 12:11 AM #

        Dominant in 2? Try 3 and he’s been to 4. Brush that chip off your shoulder. He’s had to work for it like anyone else. He left his family to go train with his coach when his coach moved to Michigan.

        If you actually listened to him with open ears, you’d hear that he was actually quite humble, especially when it came to his relay events.

  8. Awilda August 1, 2012 at 7:49 AM #

    I am glad that others are commenting on the observations I have been making with my family as I watch the Olympics. The whole coverage has been consistently leaving out the extraordinary talent that Gaby Douglas has. Since she was not born with a silver spoon in her mouth, American press chooses to be “oblivious” to her talent, self-discipline and grace. Gaby exemplifies the “stand alone spirit” that many successful people of color have to develop in the face of insidious racism that takes the form of microaggressions quoting Derald Wing Sue. I am not surprised by this behavior because as a woman of Puerto Rican ethnicity I confront the whole gamut of dismissive attitudes and behaviors in my professional endeavors.
    Congratulations to the “Crunk Feminist”!

  9. Tiffany August 1, 2012 at 8:14 AM #

    This post was so spot on. Also, I just found out by going to Gabby’s twitter page that she was the 2011 All-round World Champion, so while Jordyn (who was excellent) was the 2012 world champion the team had TWO all-round world champions on the team, but the hype was only built up around Jordyn and it’s so obvious that NBC refuses to focus on what actually is instead of what they wanted/expected. This happens all the time in sports and especially the Olympics where hype is built up around one or two people, and if they fall short or are upset by someone else, the story becomes about their loss instead of the other’s success. This is especially true in Gabby’s case. The fact that they kept mentioning how everyone was concerned over whether or not she could handle the pressure and the scene of one of her teammate giving her a peptalk before her beam routine. The commentators were all like “she needed to be refocused by her team and talked into being able to perform” but in actuality she was pissed about her bars score. She’s a world class COMPETITOR just like the other 4 and she showed that last night. I’m predicting she gets on the podium, if not top spot for the all-round.

    • KP August 1, 2012 at 12:42 PM #

      Gabby did not even qualify for the All Around in 2011 – she was edged out by Wieber and Raisman. She is a World Champion since the US team won gold in 2011.

      • tadaia August 1, 2012 at 2:35 PM #

        Actually, at the 2011 World Championships, (like Wieber) Gabby was edged out due to the “two [athletes] per country” rule. She placed 5th overall in the preliminaries.

        I’m very happy for the US and all of these beautiful little ladies. They did us proud and wonderfully represent our nation’s strength in diversity. I must say however that I have noted the tendency for the media to play up Wieber situation rather than simply acknowledging the impact of Gabby’s performances on the team Gold. Were it not for a few FB postings and an article or two like this, I would never have realized that Gabby had four events count towards the final score or that 33% of the points were indeed hers. I’ve yet to see that noted in mainstream media. It’s not a dish on the other girls but I’m just curious as to why it’s hardly mentioned.

        Well they have plenty of competition to go. I’m sending up a prayer that the individual rounds go the way of USA and our little girls bring home more GOLD!

  10. Clarence Gaines (@ClarenceGaines2) August 1, 2012 at 8:30 AM #

    Writer doesn’t have all of her facts in line. Announcers made it clear at the beginning that Gabby was the only one doing four events. That should tell the viewer what her coaches think of her. Announcers made it clear that Gabby has become the best all-around gymnast on USA team. She won the trials. Announcers made it quite clear about the significance of Gabby’s mom in her life as well as the importance of her older sister, who talked her into keeping her Olympic dreams alive when she was thinking about quitting.

    Jordyn’s story is compelling to all Americans because she was the world champion & due to a B.S. Olympic rule was denied the right to compete for the championship. NBC is about story lines – that was the story, to see how she would bounce back from that extreme disappointment. The story presented about most of the gymnasts, if you’re a discerning viewer, is how are they going to perform at their best when their best is needed. Loved the shot of Aly reassuring Gabby that she could conquer the balance beam. Teamwork at it’s best. In what is essentially an individual sport, these girls amazingly can come together, supported each other & fed off each other to do their best and win the gold.

    Gabby’s story has been told and will be told to the masses. She’s a super talent. If you have eyes, one recognizes that. Sometimes you can choose to look for the racial angle in things. I understand how the writer can come to her conclusions, but on this night I choose to see the collective brilliance of Team USA!

    Here’s the shame of the Olympic rule – If Jordyn makes all-around final, guess who would have been left out of the equation. Gabby. Aly beat the best all-around gymnast in the USA on qualifications night; proving that anything can happen on one given day, which is why Olympic rule should be changed. By the way – Gabby led the team to victory on the floor, but the rock of that team is Aly – 18 & a natural born leader – don’t underestimate her leadership ability & the confidence she helps instills in her teammates. Done!

    • Samuel August 1, 2012 at 9:17 AM #

      Clarence .. I do understand and agree with some of the points that you stated which were spot on!
      But the article also made some great points in connection to the parents and when the TV lens were directed to the parents of Jordyn and Aly, more commentary were made of them and when the TV lens were shifted to Gabby parents and family, no additional commentary were made. Thanks to my DVR which allows me to rewind real time events and I rewinded it back a few times to see what I was seeing and heard.

      To me I look at this simply how composed and professional Gabby’s corner were instead on letting the moment get to them without knowing how the end result would play out.

      And yes, Gabby did all the events! She’s a great all-around gymnast! With due respect, she’s better than Dominique Dawes. Booya!

      • armstde August 1, 2012 at 11:34 AM #

        Now usually I am the first one to notice, get angry about and then complain to everyone about this kind of thing (racism) in the news, but Clarence is actually correct….and there WAS a bio-video spot on Gabby and her family…you all must have missed it. It was at least three minutes long…about her decision to move to Iowa to work with her current coach…..about how difficult it was for her mother (as a single parent) to let her go (photos of her mother and siblings playing outside) ….about he sister talked her into staying in Iowa when she wanted to quit. rI think I saw it on Sunday maybe?? It began with a comment on her beautiful smile, showing pictures of her as a very young gymnast with a giant smile. NBC also named her as “an athlete to watch” and said she and Jordyn would likely lead the team to gold. Jordyn gets the coverage b/c she went into the games as leading world champion.

      • hope August 1, 2012 at 1:15 PM #

        Yes. What everyone else has been saying – I heard several times the story of Gabby’s sister pushing her to remain in gymnastics after the family’s move to Iowa. One commentator even remarked how great it was to see how close the sisters were with an age difference of 6 years between them. I’m not sure where anyone is getting this.

    • Amadi August 1, 2012 at 9:27 AM #

      I watched the coverage twice last night. When the other athletes’ family members were shown in the stand, they were always identified and commentary was made on their responses and reactions. Gabby’s mother and two sisters were never identified during last night’s competition. They were shown, but not identified and not commented upon. No one said a word about what they were wearing or any sentimental/good luck pieces they had (like Jordyn’s mom and her designer jacket and rosary) or their excited utterings (like Aly’s parents and their move-by-move bleacher commentary) or even so much as their names. (Also absent: the multiracial parents of Kyla Ross.)

      There was a bio piece about Gabby’s family that was shown during the first night of competition, it was not re-aired last night. Additionally, Bela Karolyi was given yet another opportunity to talk about the athletes and he could not find, even post-competition, a word to say about Gabby’s overwhelming athletic contribution to the team Gold even after he’d clearly poured over the scores, which he’d probably committed to memory during the event anyway.

      Additionally, the very fact that the chosen narrative was Jordyn-centered was a problem. World champion this year or not, this was a brand new event, and she was part of a team of five, not a team of one plus four. Jordyn was not team captain, not the team veteran, not even the “emotional leader” of the five. She was not the only standout, either, unless you only have two months of memory. Everything Jordyn’s achieved in international competition, Gabby achieved first, a full year before, in her first year of eligibility in senior competition.

      But from the first event last night, the announcers specifically said “Jordyn will need her whole team to push her to gold.” Uh, what? They all needed the whole team to push them all to gold. And the one who pushed the most was Gabby, but that was not ever mentioned, because showing the breakdown of individual scores, or even a Team USA leaderboard never occurred. The actual objective numbers that illustrated Gabby’s mastery were never shown, (nor an illustration showing the power of the points of McKayla Maroney’s near perfect vault) because they would’ve taken away time from the Jordyn as loser-to-victor, deserving-a-second-chance concept was the arcing story of the night, right down to the medal ceremony where they panned across each of the young women’s faces, lingering no more than a second or two, then stayed on Jordyn, showing her mouthing the anthem for no fewer than 4 bars of the song.

      Jordyn Wieber is an amazing athlete, no shade and no doubt. But she is only one of five amazing athletes, and was not the star of the night by the objective measure that counts — points — except NBC viewers surely wouldn’t have walked away from the end of the broadcast knowing otherwise.

    • Jessica August 1, 2012 at 3:41 PM #

      I disagree. If you take the time to again watch the all-around qualifications, you will note stark differences in the way that Gabby is discussed vs. her teammates. This came to my attention that night and I was glad to stumble upon a writer that noticed what I too noticed (not to mention countless others). P.s., if Jordyn made it, Gaby wouldn’t have been left out.. she had the highest score out of every country / everyone that competed? Did you even watch it?

      • Julie August 1, 2012 at 11:16 PM #

        Aly beat both Jordyn and Gabby so if Jordyn had made it, she would have beaten Gabby and this was from Sunday’s competition not Tuesday’s. The #1 person was from Russia, then Aly, then Gabby, then Jordyn.

      • Maida August 1, 2012 at 11:56 PM #

        Gaby Douglas had the third highest score (she probably would have qualified first, but she . Victoria Komova of Russia was first and Aly Raisman was second on qualification night. Maybe she had the highest scores on the team competition night and you’re confused? (qualification results are all here http://www.gymnasticsresults.com/olympics/2012/artisticgymnastics.html
        I just want to reiterate what Gaines has said, Wieber missed by .07 and did not qualify for the all-around because of a silly rule. She cried on national tv. She–and NBC–had expected a battle with Douglas for the all-around. Wieber vs. Douglas was NBC’s narrative, that was gone, and they needed a new one. The Joran Wieber redemption narrative was ready and very compelling, and NBC ran with it. If NBC covered the Olympics like a sports event, Douglas’ incredible contribution would have gotten its due. But NBC covers the olympics as a dramatic story, and the Jordan Wieber story is very dramatic. Plus, NBC knew they would have the chance to tell the Gabby Douglas story in a big way since they are counting on her winning the all-around. They’ll also have time for her when she competes for even more medals on bars and beam. (Wieber only qualified on floor, and Raisman has a better shot at a medal there). The team final was their opportunity to push the redemption of Jordan Wieber, so that’s what they did.
        As for the parents, the fact that they didn’t identify them was a HUGE problem. They identified Wieber and Raisman’s parents numerous times, and marginalized Douglas’ family by only referring to them in relation to Douglas. Race probably had a lot to with that. I’m really glad someone drew attention to that, it is really embarrassing.
        But I don’t think that race was a huge factor in Douglas’ family’s lack of screen time. Raisman and Wieber’s parents are both REALLY animated and that is super televisual. NBC LOVES emotional parents. They show them at every opportunity (John Orozco’s mother from the men’s team had also gotten a lot of screentime for being super emotional). Douglas’ family is pretty composed by comparison. That might be because they have more confidence in Gabby, or because they just have a different temperament. Either way, it’s not televisual, and NBC is probably worried people will think they don’t care. Ultimately, NBC’s general stupidity and terrible sports reporting has a lot more to do with Douglas’ lack of credit than race, though it is still a factor. And in the end, Douglas’ performances (and her ridiculous charisma) spoke for themselves, and they will again in 3 more events this week. And though NBC’s problems with racism totally exist, and are apparent in many other events, their problems with nationalism and the Russians and were way more apparent last night. The Russians were treated horribly, barely considered or respected at all, pretty much an afterthought. And they have been stereotyped as overemotional, combative, and inconsistent “divas” since the qualification rounds.
        And either way, we can at least be thankful that team USA is probably waaaayyyy more diverse than ANY show on network tv.

    • Kim August 2, 2012 at 10:01 AM #

      The Olympic rule that kept Jordyn out of the all-around is in place in part because for years, the Russians and Romanians were dominating the sport and the US Gymnastics Federation petitioned for the rule change with other international federations. The fact is, Jordyn had a major bobble on the balance beam — windmiling her arms to prevent a fall — and a small glitch on another routine (bars, I think), so she was edged out of the all-around. Everyone knew about the 2-per-country rule heading into the Games, so she should have brought her A+ game to ensure that she made the all-around.

      The writer is absolutely correct in slamming NBC for its unbalanced coverage. I get the need for a compelling storyline, but they have gone overboard with the focus on Jordyn. She did not LEAD the team to gold; Gabby did. Jordyn just made a small contribution to the effort by hitting her routine. I also agree with the writer on the lopsided commentary on the family members in the audience. Jordyn’s mom and Aly’s parents are getting waaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy more coverage and commentary than Gabby’s family. That’s unfair and they need to make a change. Ooops! I guess they will have to since Jordyn’s not in the all-around final.

  11. Morag Eyrie August 1, 2012 at 9:37 AM #

    Great piece. I am white and live in the UK. I have been reading this blog, loving it, learning from it for quite a while. And the only other time I have commented was on a racism in sports coverage issue: re the Williams sisters.

    I am a huge gymnastics fan and have been since Nadia in 1976. Gabby Douglas was amazing yesterday. I suppose I just wanted to say: the coverage hasn’t been quite as bad here in the UK (and I was watching like a hawk for it). Gabby is (I think) getting her much more of her due on the TV here, and hopefully winning many international fans. I’m just saying this so you know there is love coming for your Crunk Gymnastics Star over here.

    Anyway, gotta dash- the men’s all-round has just started. Will be cheering for Gabby to win the women’s all-round tomorrow and show them all, tomorrow! Love to all my fellow gymnastics fans.

    • Nicole McLean August 1, 2012 at 10:29 AM #

      Thanks for letting me know that all of the coverage for Gabby isn’t as lopsided as I’ve noticed here in the US. I’ve been so severely disappointed in the broadcast of this Olympics — on many different levels — and the invisibility of Gabby’s accomplishments have really been the icing on the cake for me. If I didn’t love watching the gymnasts so much, I would have given up on watching the entire sporting event.

    • Doc Marten August 1, 2012 at 10:52 AM #

      I’m also a huge gymnastics fan..that’s why I’ve been avoiding NBC coverage and watching the BBC. Morag is right..Gabby’s been given much more credit and respect by the BBC and the racist (yes, I said it) coverage of Gabby by NBC is total bullshit. Gabby KILLED it yesterday, and I have no doubt she’ll kill it Thursday too. She’s a great talent, and a great kid from everything I’ve heard about her.
      PS: I’ve been reading this blog off and on for awhile, and it’s great. Keep up the good work!

  12. scissorandthread August 1, 2012 at 9:46 AM #

    love this post.

  13. B August 1, 2012 at 10:05 AM #

    I don’t necessarily agree with the characterization of this post. I watched the all-around qualifying event and there was much more coverage about Gabby, including her back story, during that coverage. Gabby was treated as a shoe-in for the event, and unfortunately the populace enjoys drama. Jordyn vs. Aly provided it. Everyone assumed it would be Gabby and Jordyn in the individual all-around. When Jordyn did not qualify, all eyes were focused on her and how she would bounce back and perform for the team two days later. I believe that was the reason for the skewed coverage, not race. Despite that, I still believe they talked about Gabby’s sister coaxing Gabby into staying with gymnastics while showing her family on the screen. After watching both the qualifying round for the individual all-around, and the team finals, I know a significant amount of information about Gabby and her family, and not much about the other gymnasts on the team.

    Unfortunately, or fortunately, however you want to view it, Gabby is a strong, dependable competitor. There’s not much drama in her performance. She had some issues with nerves, which the commentators mentioned from time to time, but she blasted all concerns out of the water with her solid routines. There’s no story there. In the end, last nights event was a team event. Team USA got much deserved accolades. In the post-win interview, the ladies kept saying how proud they were of each other. Nobody talked about themselves winning it all. I believe Gabby will get her due during the individual all-around, when the drama of Jordyn’s comeback story won’t be front and center.

    • KengeB August 1, 2012 at 10:48 AM #

      The girls didn’t promote the issue the media did. I think thats the point of this article. Team USA was not the focus of the coverage. Jordyn dreams were. The information about her family and nerves was repeated too much in my opinion. After the 1st couple routines nerves should not have been an repeated issue.

      • Julie August 1, 2012 at 11:19 PM #

        I think nerves were mentioned(esp during the beam routine) because at the trials she was so nervous and shaky. That was her worst event and then at qualifications she did mess up on floor.

  14. Radiance August 1, 2012 at 10:20 AM #

    I also notice the lack of emphasis and coverage on the Asian coaches…namely Gabby’s coach Liang Chow.

    • Radiance August 1, 2012 at 10:22 AM #

      (Liang Chow) who was also Shawn Johnson’s coach.

      Oh my in general I don’t think team USA’s historic gold is getting the coverage it deserves…and I wonder why….

      • Doc Marten August 1, 2012 at 10:54 AM #

        It’s only the beginning. This is going to be bigger than the Mag 7 in 1996.

  15. Julia August 1, 2012 at 10:29 AM #

    Thank you! Well argued.

  16. KengeB August 1, 2012 at 10:44 AM #

    I was starting to wonder on the 1st day were her parents even there since I say her teammates parents over and over and not hers. They even gave slow motion views of the parents reactions but not her’s like what the hell. I also want to point out the group hug at the end had Gabby on the outside.

    • Leigh August 1, 2012 at 11:15 AM #

      Yes, I felt like I noticed a lot of this kind of exclusion – like when all the girls got together to remove their pants for the #1 photo but no one told Gabby, who then had hers still on. The hug that she was belatedly brought into, etc. It’s race intersecting with competition – if she’s clearly that much better than the rest of them (and it seems like she might be) – then she also might be excluded out of jealousy, consciously or otherwise.

      • zenobiajo August 1, 2012 at 2:33 PM #

        I very much agree with your observation. Glad I was not alone in seeing this. 🙂

      • KT August 2, 2012 at 11:56 AM #

        She was also completely pushed out of the team #1 photo – look carefully – she is actually behind the other gymnasts, blocked by their shoulders. This photo breaks my heart. http://sports.yahoo.com/news/olympics–united-states-wins-first-gold-medal-in-women-s-team-gymnastics-since-1996.html

      • Fritz August 3, 2012 at 9:20 AM #

        She was clearly not in the clique and I also noticed she was the only one wearing pants in the group shot. The good news is that we all saw it and should let it serve as a reminder that nothing has changed. As they say in football…. the “film does not lie”. We saw Gabby win the US trials and the Olympics…

  17. xtica August 1, 2012 at 11:18 AM #

    @KengeB i saw that hug too! as a mom who seen that all during her kids childhood, my heart was hurting i almost turned it off! it was infuriating! i wish i had the know how to make some kind of website for support of nothing-but-Gabby! i loved the last part of the article- Gabby we do SEE YOu and we LOVE you little lady!!!!!!

  18. Kimberly Davis August 1, 2012 at 11:43 AM #

    This! This! A thousand times this!!! Thank you so much. I have been struggling to put into words the thoughts and feelings I had watching Gabby last night and listening to the commentators and camera operators literally frame her out of the picture. This young woman has not received the accolades she deserves. I thought I was overreacting, but that is a trick of the devil!!! Lol. Thank you for affirmation.

  19. ASmith August 1, 2012 at 11:59 AM #

    I’m especially glad you made mention of the frequency of panning. In FACT, after one of Gabby’s routines (I believe the bars) they panned to McKayla’s mother when prior to Gabby’s performance they’d shown her family. The commentators were annoying and rude to be nice, and the media has been shameless in their lack of fair coverage, going right to one of the WaPo publications that posted a picture of the “Fab 5” minus Gabby on their article about the Gold-medal performance. Makes no sense.

  20. thadocbell August 1, 2012 at 12:16 PM #

    Not much to say here except congrats to Gabby Douglas for being a true inspiration to youth nationwide. This is a beautiful story and well written article!

  21. Brooke August 1, 2012 at 12:27 PM #

    This really angers me. After I read this post, I googled Gabby Douglas and look what I found:


    Gabby isn’t even pictured in the article and the title reads: “McKayla Maroney, Gabby Douglas Lead US to Gymnastics Gold.” Gabby is barely mentioned individually in the text, and the entire spotlight is given to McKayla Maroney. She deserves her props for her performance, but for Gabby to have contributed so much to this team’s historic win, yet receive so little recognition from these major media outlets is shameful.

    I’m thankful for these critical spaces to speak the truth and give the rightful credit where it’s due.

    GO GABBY GO!! Is all I have to say. Let your light shine and take home the GOLD!

  22. ClaraLove August 1, 2012 at 12:41 PM #

    YES! It annoyed me that I never heard them mention Gabby’s mother and sister’s names! It was as if they just assumed we would infer that those were Gabby’s relatives because, you know…black people.

    And yes, Jordyn was amazing and always is, but I was annoyed that the commentators kept acting like the four other girls were hurdles standing in the way of Jordyn’s gold medal. It’s the “Fab Five” not Jordyn and “Jordyn’s teammates!”

  23. Global Woman August 1, 2012 at 12:46 PM #

    Gabrielle Douglas is phenomenal, stunning, and gorgeous. She is changing the face of gymnastics. I so appreciate your rightful praise of her. But did you notice that African American Elizabeth Price was among the top four finishers of the trials, but after some closed-door Caucasian magic was worked, she was demoted to alternate (see: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1247170-us-olympic-gymnastics-trials-2012-snubbing-elizabeth-price-will-prove-costly). These athletes are under tremendous pressure as it is, but the blatant racism in gymnastics needs to be publicly and loudly addressed. Thank you, CFC, for doing your part!

    • pinkbunnt August 1, 2012 at 2:55 PM #

      I love how people will always doubt Martha, when she is the reason the US team got their gold in more than a decade. Realize this: Martha picked this team for a TEAM GOLD. Price has NOTHING to offer towards that goal. The US team is weak on bars, they’ve always been weak on bars. Don’t bring up Nastia because the fact that she won all around with her frog-spilt was more of a math game (upping her D score more than what the frog leg would deduct).

      The russians and chinese are bar workers and their bar routines have a 6.0+ D score on average. He KeXin of china has a D score of 7.1! To beat the Russians and the Chinese, the team NEEDED a bar-worker, that’s why Nastia was brought back to try for trials.

      Even at trials, Nastia said that Martha would bring her onto the team if she could bring a good bar routine. But she fell, so Ross is going, its a NEED, not a “I’m going to pick this asian girl over the black girl”

      Looking back at Price, her highest score is on Vault. So maybe you think she should replace Maroney? Are you serious? I think MM’s vault speaks for itself, and if you think Price can replace her on vault you are clearly out of your mind.

      So what’s left is Aly and Wieber that Price would possibly replace, and the article suggests that Price’s strength is consistency. Well, Aly and Wieber are both consistent gymnasts, with higher scores AND D-values.

      In the end, it wasn’t racism that kept Price out of the game, it is the fact that she has NOTHING TO OFFER in terms of winning the USA team gold.

      • Jenni August 1, 2012 at 6:25 PM #

        Are you unclear that Price was selected as an alternate for the Olympic team? Apparently Martha thought enough of her to bring her to London. If she really had NOTHING TO OFFER, she probably would be at home, wouldn’t you agree? Price may not be on the big stage, but she’s not on the Internet writing comments, either. 🙂

        As for whether racism played a role with Price’s non-selection, who knows? But suggesting she has nothing to offer is just stupid–even Martha Karolyi doesn’t agree with you there.

      • Gigi August 1, 2012 at 11:04 PM #

        Pink may be a little strongly-worded, but her point is accurate. It wasn’t “Caucasian magic” as much as Price being in the unfortunate position to be best at events where the U.S. team didn’t need help (vault and floor).

        Martha Karolyi had five slots to fill, plus alternates. The top two girls at Trials were automatically added to the Olympic team: Douglas and Wieber. That left three more to fill. Raisman was a lock, and we’ve all seen why. So, two more spots and three alternates and you have to look at what needs to be filled in and what the gymnasts left had to offer. It would be three up, three count in the team finals, so they need three people for each event.

        I’ve done a full analysis below, but basically here’s the deal: Douglas, Wieber and Raisman are all good to great at floor, beam and vault, and Douglas and Wieber are good on bars.

        Out of two slots left on the team, the U.S. team desperately needed at least one good bar worker (which went to Ross). The last slot is for anyone who could improve upon the scores of the rest of the team on any other apparatus (Maroney and her vault, which is far and away the best in the world).

        In-Depth Analysis:

        The best at bars were Anna Li and Kyla Ross. Martha loves the “international look” of Ross (that has to do with her being slim and long–as opposed to compact and muscular–which for some reason earns better scores from international judges). Ross hit all four of her routines at Trials and national championships. Li hit three of four and Price hit one of four. Ross is in, Li is the alternate (she’s a bars specialist, it was her only shot).

        One spot left.


        Price’s best events are vault and floor, the strongest parts of the U.S. team. She was weak on beam. She has the potential to be very good on bars, but is inconsistent. She’s not a specialist on any apparatus.

        Maroney is the best vaulter in the world, and it’s consistently excellent. In a pinch, she might hit on floor. Keep her off beam and bars.

        Alicia Sacramone is great at vault and beam, her only events.

        Sarah Finnegan is a steady all-arounder, best at beam, floor and vault. Weak on bars.

        Result: Maroney’s vault is really just too good to ignore, so she’s the fifth spot. Price, Li and Finnegan are alternates.

        REALLY In-Depth Analysis:

        The U.S. is weak on bars. Douglas had the best bars score of the U.S. Team, at 15.900 on the second day (and 15.250 on the first).
        Wieber had scores of 15.350 both days.
        Raisman had scores of 14.200 and 14.450.

        So, from there, you can count on two of three, but with two spots left, you need to get someone with a much better bar routine on the team.

        Price’s routines had a difficulty level/max value of 5.900 and 6.300, and she earned 14.500 and 15.300.

        Ross’ routines had a difficulty level/max value of 6.400 both days, and she earned scores of 15.500 and 15.650

        Anna Li’s routines had max values of 6.900 both days, and she earned scores of 15.500 and 15.550

        Rebecca Bross had high max start values, but the poor girl had a total meltdown and fell twice and I think even failed to complete her routine on the second day.

        McKayla Maroney is terrible: max values of 5.6 and 5.8, scores of 13.350 and 13.700

        Nobody else at trials had a score of 15+.

        Other apparatus:
        The U.S. is very, very strong on vault. Douglas and Wieber have solid, high-value vaults. Can count on them for two of the three scores. Need to find a third.

        Raisman had scores of 15.550 and 15.300, she’s out of the running.

        Maroney is the easily best vaulter in the world, and had scores of 16.100 and 16.150 at trials.

        Price has a strong, high-value vault, with trials scores of 16.050 and 15.700. (Maroney, Douglas and Price were the only ones to score 16 or above at trials.)

        Alicia Sacramone had the next-best scores (other than the three already on the team) at 15.700 and 15.800.

        Raisman had the best beam score of Trials with a 15.400, combined with 14.950. Wieber had a good 15.050 and 14.900, and Douglas had a good 14.900 and 14.850.

        Alicia Sacramone had very nice, consistent scores of 15.000 and 15.150. Nobody else hit two 15+ performances.

        Price had 14.150 and 14.550 scores.
        Maroney had 13.650 and 15.000 scores.
        Ross had 14.900 and 15.050 scores.
        Sarah Finnegan had 15.100 and 14.800 scores.

        Raisman’s best on floor (15.600 and 15.500 at trials), but Wieber (15.400 and 15.600) and Douglas (15.450 and 15.300) are close behind. Don’t really need to cover anyone here.

        But, for reference:
        Price: 14.900 and 14.950
        Maroney: 15.200 and 14.500
        Finnegan: 14.550 and 15.000
        Ross: 14.500 and 14.750

      • Pinkbunny August 2, 2012 at 1:59 AM #


        I never questioned the validity of Price as an alternate. My post was CLEARLY a rebuttal of OP’s suggestion that Price was “demoted” to alternate because “some closed-door Caucasian magic was worked”. She wasn’t “demoted” and I have listed very, very clearly, the reasons why.

        She has nothing to offer to the **competing** team (as in excluding the alternates, because face it, the alternates will only compete if one of the girls are sick or seriously injured) in term of say… if I got a Samsung galaxy smartphone, the Apple app store has nothing to offer to me because the Samsung phone runs on the Android operating system and Iphones run on OS X. It’s not an attack on her skills nor her character, it is just a fact, like Apple apps cant run on Android.

        She is an alternate because her lower difficulty and the fact that her best event is vault, which every single person on that team could do, including Ross. She is consistent, that is great, it makes her a GREAT ALTERNATE, and I never disputed that fact. Because she is consistent, Martha probably had in mind for her to replace Jordyn, Gabby, or Aly, if they had a serious injury.

        She was never meant to replace Ross, whose alternate is Anna Li (who made alternate solely because of her bar skills.)

        The fact that you still think it is a possibility that racism played a role in that selection suggests that you choose to be willfully ignorant to the sports and its scoring system. There’s never an if there because of the plain facts of the starting value of her routines… unless one of the five girls fell on their faces at Trials, which did not happen.

        Whoever wrote that article linked in OP’s post is either someone who hasn’t been following gymnastics (especially on the world-wide stage), or an opportunist who decided that crying foul about racial undertones would gain them hits by cooking up controversy where there are none.

        You choose to distort the intent on my “nothing to offer” line by taking it out of context and resort to character attacks, when I have presented nothing but facts.

        Perhaps I could have worded it more “gently”, but it is annoying when every four years, people who don’t follow the sport comes out of the woodworks and decide they know enough to say one deserved a spot on the competing team over another, or completely discredit one’s achievements over another….. like how people are up-playing Jordyn over Gabby.

  24. hazel August 1, 2012 at 12:50 PM #

    I am so happy to learn that I am not the only one who feels this way. Gabby definitely did not receive her proper’s the way she should have. She performed like the star she is and everything she did was always punctuated by the commentators(I use this term loosely) silence. I love the fact that you also pointed out that nothing was said about Gabby’s family and at every turn the camera was focused on Jordyn’s mother and her “many silver ringed” fingers. I am not taking anything away from Jordyn. She is a fantastic athlete and by the looks of it, she seems to be a terrific young lady. But, she did not lead the team to victory, Gabby did and she deserves her props. I cannot wait for the individual all-around. Jordyn(the golden child) did not make it. We hear more about how disappointing it is that she did not make it than how fantastic it is that Gabby did. Awesome job Gabby!!!!!

  25. Ace P August 1, 2012 at 1:02 PM #

    I have been saying the same thing since the Olympic Trials. I am an optimistic person and hoped that it was somehow my own biases, but as the Olympics approached and all I saw were Raisman and Weiber on promotional materials, commericials, etc. I knew that I was sadly overly optimistic. Let’s raise her up as a community and remind her that half her best is better than most. Well written.

  26. Clarence Gaines (@ClarenceGaines2) August 1, 2012 at 1:23 PM #

    Google “Gabby Douglas leads” & see what you come up with – Understand where most of you are coming from, but I think you’re off based. Gabby was on Time Magazine Cover – Featured articles all over the place. Mother & sister were mentioned quite frequently during the telecast, especially the sister’s role in keeping Gabby in the sport. Gabby will get plenty of attention on Thursday – rooting for her.

    Here are the links:

    Women’s gymnastics: Gabby Douglas leads U.S. women to gold medal; Russians falter – Zap2it http://bit.ly/OBBn5j

    Gabby Douglas, Jordyn Wieber lead U.S. women’s gymnastics to gold – The Washington Post http://wapo.st/NlQa24

    Fly, Gabby Fly: Gabby Douglas Leads Women’s Gymnastics Team to Gold at Olympics | Kulture Kritic | Kulture Kritic http://bit.ly/NJc2dr

    Gabby Douglas “A Bouncing Ball Of Fire” In U.S. Win http://bit.ly/N1QOE0

    ‘Fierce Five’ soar their way into Olympic history – Olympics – ESPN http://es.pn/R5ZedA

    You can shape the narrative anyway you want in this world. Bottom line – Gabby will have center stage with Aly & Komova on Thursday. Wish all of them well!

    • Jenni August 1, 2012 at 6:06 PM #

      There are 10-20X the number of articles on Jordyn Wieber, who has not done anything DURING the Olympics to merit such extensive coverage. When she did not qualify for the AAs, instead of the articles celebrating Gabby and Aly’s achievements, everything was about “poor Jordyn” and “will she get her gold?”–because she’s entitled to it, right? Never mind everyone else.

      At the team finals, Wieber didn’t get the highest score on ANY EVENT for her team. She had the 3rd best vault and the 3rd best floor routine. And they said she led the team. I suppose you think that’s balanced?

      Now, you can talk all day about “leadership”, but you don’t bring home the gold without the SCORES. In team competitions, you lead by execution–something Jordyn didn’t do. Meanwhile, Gabby Douglas worked her way to an all-around score of 61.432. Best AA score posted to date.

      Just because Gabby is getting some coverage doesn’t mean it’s at all in proportion to what it should be vis a vis Jordyn. We’re not off base in our assessments, actually. I think you are.

  27. p. August 1, 2012 at 1:27 PM #

    i definitely think much of your blog post is right on, but fwiw, Bob Costas did highlight that she made up 33% of the score. (When you point out that she brushed her shoulders off during the interview, it’s actually in response to this question at 42 seconds in that video.) After I felt like the camera operators often framed her out of the group shots during the event, it was nice that he did give her some props.

  28. Witchsistah August 1, 2012 at 1:30 PM #

    If y’all were mad at NBC last night, you all are gonna be HEATED at the White American press’ coverage today. I’m honestly waiting for one to refer to her as a “colored gal.” We are going BACKWARDS in this country regarding race.

  29. rootedinbeing August 1, 2012 at 1:39 PM #

    Thank you for this needed post. I was dumbfounded by how “off” the editing was for the women’s gymnastics. My husband and I watched Gabby give a stellar performance on beam, and NBC cut to commercial before giving her score – when they came back it was to show Russia. Gabby’s score for her beam performance was never even shown. I also thought it was ridiculous how dramatic and emotional they tried to make the coverage of Jordyn. Yes, she deserves all accolades, but NBC was simply discriminatory in their coverage. I also hated that the only non western country given coverage was the one in 1st place, while all other countries given coverage were western. Malaysia was third in diving and we never even saw a glimpse of their performance!

    • Gigi August 2, 2012 at 12:10 AM #

      To be fair, they haven’t been good at showing scores. During qualifying, they said Raisman had a good enough score on floor to get into the All-Arounds, but never actually gave us the score. Later that night, they covered the Romania and Russia group and showed several performances without giving the scores. They even talked about how great their scores were without actually telling us what they were. I think it’s an artifact of the tape delay. I assume (HOPE!) the commentary is done live during the event, then NBC edits it down to fit whatever time NBC allows the event. So stuff like discussions of the scores are cut. Also, the NBC gymnastics experts are horrific commentators. That’s just a fact.

  30. Darla-Jean Weatherford August 1, 2012 at 1:41 PM #

    Thank you for this—and this thanks comes from a 60-something white woman who watched those events and kept thinking, “Look at that girl! She’s just *amazing*! Why are they talking about the crybaby?”

    I’ll be honest with you: I grew up in a segregated central Texas town where I carried my fear of Blacks into my first teaching job in a mixed-race high school that had had race riots before I got there. But I learned that there are some pretty amazing Black people out there.

    Barack Obama is one of them Gabby Douglas is another. And i put them in the same paragraph on purpose; they both deserve our thanks and praise.

    • Witchsistah August 1, 2012 at 5:58 PM #

      I’m…”glad” you realized that not all Black people are scum and even can distinguish a couple of us as worthy of your merit. Now try to realize that ALL Black people, even the ones YOU don’t like, are just as human as the paragons who garner your limited esteem.

  31. Witchsistah August 1, 2012 at 1:49 PM #

    From Tumblr because this is so succinct and apt:

    thats what being a black girl is

    you carry the fucking world

    and then they pretend you dont exist

    as they celebrate what you fucking materialized for them

  32. Jib Jabble August 1, 2012 at 2:01 PM #

    I honestly couldn’t agree more. They may claim that they’re giving everyone ample screen time but that’s not the case. It’s all about “Jordyn leading them to victory” when she had the lowest scores on the events she competed on in both the team competition and the qualifier.

    If it’s at all possible, could you please check out the article I wrote on my blog, which is also related to the topic of the All Around/ Jordyn/ Gymnastics controversy? Thanks 🙂 Also, check out my blog in full: jibjabble.wordpress.com


  33. Adam August 1, 2012 at 2:25 PM #

    I agree, Gabby Douglas is amazing. And when I googled her name, I stumbled on this hilarious, adorable video of some dude cheering her on. I hope she knows how much so many of us value her.http://youtu.be/vseSx8OMnzU

  34. zenobiajo August 1, 2012 at 2:39 PM #

    Well at least the President of the United States thought Gabby’s efforts and results deserved recognition 🙂 Saw an article stating that she rec’d a call from the Pres. earlier today. God bless him!

    • Jenni August 1, 2012 at 6:27 PM #

      I believe he called the entire team. Lots of tweets about that today.

  35. The Curvy Socialite August 1, 2012 at 2:56 PM #

    Thank you for this post and recognizing Gabby’s efforts. Rooting for her in the all around. #TeamGABBY

  36. eshowoman August 1, 2012 at 3:04 PM #

    Reblogged this on Angry Black Woman Watch and commented:
    From the amazing woman at the Crunk Feminist Collective. The mainstream media has minimized the contributions of Gabby Douglas to the Olympic gold winning gymnastic team in favor of Jordyn Wieber who failed to qualify for the individual all around competition. Gabby competed in all four events and scored the highest on the beam and bars. Yet the media and the blogsphere are replete with comments doubting she can handle the pressure or commenting on her hair! Gabby is set to compete in the individual all around tomorrow. I wish her the best of luck. GO GABBY!

  37. eshowoman August 1, 2012 at 3:08 PM #

    There seems to be a great deal of resentment around the fact that blacks are now excelling at sports that are deemed “white.” Lia Neal won a bronze medal in swimming at 16 but there is no coverage of this accomplishment. Dominique Dawes faced the same treatment on the last gold winning Olympic gymnastic team. I reblogged this wonderful post on my blog The Angry Black Woman Watch http://www.abww.wordpress.com

  38. Sara Conrad August 1, 2012 at 3:09 PM #

    I’m just going to throw this out here as another way to look at it. Everyone thought Jordyn was going to win. After she didn’t make the all around selection, all those advertisers, marketers, etc This may a tactic to keep her “popular” for the after Olympic sell (of herself). I’m not excusing it and I thought Gabby was great (my favorite of the 5) but knowing the $$$ that goes producing a advertising star. Just a thought. The athletes are owned by their sponsors.

    • Witchsistah August 1, 2012 at 6:00 PM #

      *sigh* White folks will twist themselves into pretzels to deny/defend racism.

    • Jenni August 1, 2012 at 6:20 PM #

      Sara, I’m glad you posted this. I agree that NBC and sponsors were prepared to crown Jordyn “America’s Sweetheart”, and they don’t wish to change that. But the reality is that without an AA gold, Jordyn won’t be anywhere near as marketable–and they know it. And now there is a very real chance that Gabby could supplant her.

      The media simply doesn’t want to celebrate Gabby OVER Jordyn. They don’t want the focus to be on Gabby INSTEAD of Jordyn. They are fine with both of them getting the spotlight, but don’t want to give Gabby the lion’s share of the attention–which she has EARNED.

      In sports, you get what you earn–that’s it. Jordyn didn’t earn a spot in the AA and she was the 3rd best in her events during the Team Finals. And yet she still gets the attention? Let’s just admit that the media prefers her–even though she LOST. And they are giving Gabby short shrift because of it.

      There are also numerous other things (mentioned in the post) that have nothing to do with Jordyn–these are slights against Gabby and her family. I guess what I’m saying is, no matter what the reason, the media is CHOOSING to celebrate someone who is not the best. At the Olympics. And it’s largely because of skin color.

      • Doc Marten August 2, 2012 at 1:36 AM #

        The MSM always does this when it comes to Gymnastics. Instead of actually DOING THEIR JOB, they assume that the “it girl” of the moment will win the Olympics, when it’s actually the non “it girl” of the moment that does. For example, Shawn Johnson. The MSM thought Shawn would win the All Around when it was actually Nastia Liukin. They’re really stupid like that.

  39. Violet August 1, 2012 at 3:16 PM #

    Great points. I was seething listening to the commentators virtually ignore her peformances.

  40. Kerry Murray August 1, 2012 at 3:19 PM #

    I was definitely bothered by the lack of coverage given to Gabby and am glad I was not the only one. She was actually left out of the frame on several of the shots of the team after the last score was announced and it was clear Team USA had the gold.

    I did hear the few mentions about Gabby’s sister and it being a challenge for her to leave the family and train in Iowa, but that came early on and she was barely mentioned again.

    I loved watching her compete. The determination on her face and her amazing athleticism and grace were a pleasure to watch. Looking forward to seeing her rock the all-round.

    Excellent and necessary commentary, Crunktastic. Thank you for sharing. I reposted your link on FB.

    • Bobby August 2, 2012 at 6:39 AM #

      Great acknowledgement.

  41. Regina Johnson August 1, 2012 at 4:00 PM #

    Thank You………………

  42. Maria Moore August 1, 2012 at 4:19 PM #

    Thank you so much for writing this post! I haven’t been following the Olympics at all, but I’m excited to learn about Gabby’s accomplishments despite the terrible coverage and to repost for the young folks I work with. We need more people to bring attention to this longstanding trend.

  43. nicole August 1, 2012 at 4:19 PM #

    There are some great points made on this post. As someone pointed out, when Jordyn Wieber lost she lost big time in the financial realm of things. For one, she has forgone her college eligibility to turn pro (in the hopes that she’ll receive major endorsements, gold, etc) and since she isn’t going to compete in the All Around there goes a severe dint in her marketability. So I do think the media/sponsors have a vested interest in keeping her relevant. With that said, this is just par for the course. As a black woman, I know that to succeed I will have to be ten times better than my white counterparts and even then, people will probably believe I got to where I am due to affirmative action rather than earning a spot. I think a lot of this has to do with Gabby’s all-around strength as well. As someone else pointed out, Gabby is quite possibly the best all around athlete on the team. Aly will have a chance to prove her mettle, but to do what Gabby is able to do (and she’s onnly 16) is quite remarkable. As far as how the girls treat her, I thin that their treatment may hinge on the fact that she’s stiff competition. They seem to sometimes look at her as a wunderkind. Again, they could look at her like this because she’s a black girl in a sport dominated by white girls or simply because she’s awesome at what she does, or both. I cheered for years on a team in which I was the only black girl so I know what it feels like to be excluded as an outsider. The one girl who invited me to her home was more concerned about me teaching her the lastest dance moves and inquiring about my hair practices. But this is why I see the fierce and quiet determination in Gabby that is her biggest strength.

  44. melissa August 1, 2012 at 4:45 PM #

    This was GREAT I’m glad I wasn’t the only one feeling this way. Also note this morning on Today they still snubbed her mother out of camera time. Thank you for this post

  45. Global Woman August 1, 2012 at 5:08 PM #

    Headline News did a spectaular piece on Gabrielle’s Mother’s struggles and triumphs (01 Aug 12; 5:45pm). This Friday HLN will do an in-depth feature and interview of her mother. I wonder if this moving and appropriate focus by the HLN’s Africana correspondants is in response to the hateful, spiteful coverage this athlete has gotten from NBC….

  46. Tomika August 1, 2012 at 5:26 PM #

    OMG!!!!!! Thank you so much for writing this!!!! AWESOME!!!!

  47. Orville August 1, 2012 at 5:34 PM #

    Thanks for writing this I am a Canadian and the Canadian Olympic broadcasters were very complementary towards Gabrielle Douglas. Yes, it is true I noticed when I watched NBC the subtle racism was disgusting and annoying. HOWEVER, Gabrielle did not allow NBC’s racism to stop her focus from winning a gold medal and that’s important. The judges KNOW Gabrielle is excellent and she knows she’s amazing and that’s what matters most!

  48. Ebony August 1, 2012 at 6:05 PM #

    I found it disturbing that during the Today Show interview with the parents this morning they showed Jordyn’s mother speak but when it got to Gabby’s mom they cut to pictures and didn’t cut back to the parents until she was done speaking. WTH

  49. Sarah August 1, 2012 at 6:19 PM #

    Race may or may not have had anything to do with Gabby’s coverage. Has anyone considered another possibility? Gabby is a Christian, and an outspoken one (when the media doesn’t edit it out) at that. Again, may or may not have anything to do with the coverage.

    • Jenni August 1, 2012 at 7:16 PM #

      USA Today has a photo of the team on the section cover, including everyone but Gabby. And you somehow think race has nothing to do with it. You figure the main difference most people see between Gabby and her teammates is Christianity. That is ridiculous!

    • RachelB August 1, 2012 at 8:25 PM #

      Not buying it. I haven’t seen any shortage of white athletes crediting God for their victories in the clips I’ve seen of, say, swimming.

    • B August 2, 2012 at 10:03 AM #

      If you go to the team members’ individual Twitter pages, you’ll find that more than one of them mention God. That’s not it.

    • betty August 3, 2012 at 6:59 AM #

      two words: Tim Tebow

      • brownstocking August 3, 2012 at 1:13 PM #

        GET. THAT. SAID.

      • Saidah Ali August 3, 2012 at 1:21 PM #

        Yeah, I’m not going to lie: even on her twitter, that gets OLD.

  50. RachelB August 1, 2012 at 6:38 PM #

    Awesome post, and thank you to the commenters who pointed out that BBC and CBC coverage gave Douglas more recognition for earning 33% of the U.S. team’s points, which is an amazing achievement. I haven’t watched coverage of the women’s gymnastics team finals yet, and I’ll see if I can find any BBC or CBC coverage online.

  51. KJ August 1, 2012 at 6:43 PM #

    Another smaller yet just as sad component is all the negative comments about her “nappy hair”.

  52. tipsforzip August 1, 2012 at 7:02 PM #

    I was aware of the hype surrounding this story but I didn’t know what happened. Makes me want to find a clip of it and watch. Thanks for posting 🙂

  53. Kat August 1, 2012 at 7:32 PM #

    Thank you for positing this. I just stumbled upon your blog via Twitter, and I am so happy to finally find something in the Blogosphere that is Pro-Gabby. I’ve been following her gymnastics since Worlds last year, and she is one talented girl. She only entered the world of Elite Gymnastics in 2010 and improves with every single competition. I hope London is just the beginning for her. NBC’s gymnastics coverage is just downright terrible. I wasn’t surprised at all when they went the route they did last night.

  54. Mary August 1, 2012 at 7:46 PM #

    While I agree that Gabby’s coverage wasn’t as prominent as Jordyn’s, I don’t necessarily agree that it was based on race. Sometimes the media just likes a good storyline and the one that Jordyn had going into the team final was a classic redemption story, from the lowest of the lows to the highest of the highs. It’s good television.

    I did feel like Gabby should’ve gotten more mention as being the only one to do all four events, though this was highlighted in some of the interviews afterwards. I wonder if she might be a little bit of an outsider similar to the way that Shawn was a bit of an outsider in 08. Both rose to the top at the right time and very quickly, which is bound to lead to some jealousy and the like. Shawn herself has referenced this in her interviews in the past. Plus, when you have McKayla and Kyla who grew up together and Jordyn and Aly both have been around for awhile, it seems natural that Gabby would be the one left out, which is both sad but understandable as well just based on the circumstances. I think she has gotten a good amount of media in general though, with a lot of people in love with her personality.

    She seemed markedly understated during the team finals though and almost unusually serious. It might be a good way to keep herself calm though, since her feeling “normal” is obviously good for her to not be too nervous.

  55. Dee August 1, 2012 at 7:48 PM #

    People.com has already crowned Aly Raisman as the all around Gold Medalist!

  56. Natasiarose August 1, 2012 at 7:56 PM #

    I was thinking the same thing that whole TIME. It’s like…yes Jordan is the world champ but let’s talk about Gabby since she has a chance to be the standout in the here and now.

    I also heard that ppl have been attacking Gabbys hair for being “messy.” that makes me crazy.

  57. lakinyi August 1, 2012 at 7:59 PM #

    I watched this and was uncomfortable with he coverage too. I dug up more info to confirm that Gabby had contributed most of the points-. Just tonight when they showed more highlights on the win, they showed the girl who went first and the one who went last just before the win was confirmed- no mention of Gabby. This makes no sense to me. The girl’s a genius and is being undermined.

  58. ladyjax August 1, 2012 at 8:21 PM #

    If you check out the Des Moines Register (DesMoinesRegister.com), they have some great articles and features written by Mark Emmert, about Gabby, including one that details her life with her Iowa family, The Patons. Just search her name and you get a lot of results.

    Also, found this on the Irish Times website: Sweet 16s all round as Flying Squirrel and her sisters nail it

    Talking with a friend online last night, we both felt that NBC’s televised coverage is lacking this time around as opposed to Beijing four years ago. Admittedly, I grew up in the age when ABC showed the Olympics and am biased in favor of the level of reporting they used to bring to the occasion; I never thought I’d be wishing for the dry delivery of someone like Jim McKay but I do, considering Jim McKay knew his stuff and ABC Sports had depth. This time, NBCs coverage (at least on the main station) is way too invested in hero narratives at the expense of giving viewers the full scope of the competition. And I know you can see full coverage on other NBC platforms and stations but I expect better from the parent company. I can live without Ryan Seacrest as a commentator. Give me someone who actually knows sports.

    • Doc Marten August 2, 2012 at 1:40 AM #

      Amen, Ladyjax. I also grew up with ABC Sports and their excellent coverage of the Olympics. The BBC is head and shoulders above what crap NBC is peddling. There are lots of live BBC feeds all over the net. Dump NBC and their crappy Olympics “coverage”.

  59. Heather August 1, 2012 at 8:30 PM #

    Thank you so much for this!

  60. Rebecca August 1, 2012 at 8:49 PM #

    Thank you so much for “telling it like it is.” I thought maybe I was the only person to notice this. You have stated so succinctly my exact sentiments. Gabi Douglas is an awesome athlete, a fierce competitor and a loyal teammate. Her mother’s sacrifice and her sister’s insistence paid off in a great way. This is an extraordinary family that deserves the SAME recognition and the SAME accolades as the other families do. We love you, Gabi! Your selfless efforts show that you are a TRUE American champion!!!

  61. T August 1, 2012 at 8:57 PM #

    I feel the tide has turned, just a little bit from last night to today. I think that NBC sees that AMERICA wants MORE of Gabby. Gabby was apparently ranked 6th in the most tweeted Olympian. There has been some very nice coverage about Gabby’s mom and her host family and it wasn’t too heavy on the “blind side” tone. But I was confused about her father being in the service while her mom was described as a single mother. But this is not my business.

    I am not black, but asian. When we came to the US in the 80s I remember my mother telling me that if I misbehave, it will reflect badly on all Asians. I don’t think this hold true for Asian so much anymore but I have noticed that for African Americans, no matter how great you are one slip up and that ends up defining the person. It makes me sick.

  62. datablam August 1, 2012 at 9:03 PM #

    Love it, great post. Thank you

  63. Becky August 1, 2012 at 9:31 PM #

    This is actually merely a symptom of a bigger problem, which is that prior to every Olympics, NBC pre-selects who America’s Sweetheart of the games will be, and covers her at the expense of everyone around her. NBC is completely unable to pivot when, say, Gabby Douglas dominates over Jordyn Weiber, or Nastia Liukin dominates over Shawn Johnson, or when Michelle Kwan totally chokes.

    There are plenty of trends: it’s always a gymnast in the summer and a figure skater in the winter. She’s usually white (Michelle Kwan and Kristi Yamaguchi, both Asian-American, are the only exceptions I can think of) and petite. And America’s Sweetheart is never African-American.

    I’m looking forward to watching Douglas kick some major ass in the individual all-around tomorrow — I’d be surprised if she didn’t win gold. And I hope that her achievements get the coverage by NBC they deserve.

    • Bobby August 2, 2012 at 6:50 AM #

      Great Assessment!

  64. Ramona Roberts August 1, 2012 at 10:00 PM #

    Very well written!

  65. LoveUSA August 1, 2012 at 10:04 PM #


  66. Rachel August 1, 2012 at 10:22 PM #

    Thank you do much for this. Watching last night, I kept thinking I wasn’t understanding the scores right. Why werent the commentators all excited after Gabby’s routines? That last one, it was inexplicable, the silence. Of course NBC is messing up all over the place, but this just seemed mean, especially since, apparently, so few even noticed.

  67. Rosa August 1, 2012 at 11:04 PM #

    Excellent article, thank you for your well reasoned and thoughtful commentary!

  68. Julie August 1, 2012 at 11:48 PM #

    I love Gabby and from the moment I saw her at a random competition, I was rooting for her. NBC sucks this olympics at everything they’re doing. I have to say though that I think this is more about money than race. This whole olympics crap is about money. Jordyn weiber came into the games with a lot more sponsors and more people knew her. People expected nothing but greatness from her so when she fell short, they couldn’t pull away and unfortunately it was at the expense of Gabby. I do hate the articles that say Jordyn led the team to Gold because A- she was not captain and B- she wasn’t the best but she had the most money invested in her and therefore she’s the face of the program. I did keep noticing little bits and pieces where it seemed like Gabby was an outsider but at other times it seemed like they were as close as they say. Honestly I just want Gabby to win tomorrow and say “Jordyn who?”

    and anyways if we’re going by NBC we would have thought that only Russia and USA were competing. How many other countries were we shown before they jumped over to swimming and pretended it was happening live?

  69. Heidi Hickman August 2, 2012 at 12:19 AM #

    Two thumbs up for useful commentary!

  70. x_yuan August 2, 2012 at 12:25 AM #

    For anyone interested, I’ve made an animated GIF of the shoulder brush. Please credit me if you share – I suck at graphics stuff, so this took me forever to do.


  71. PhDeviate August 2, 2012 at 12:42 AM #

    I haven’t been able to follow the Olympics, so I went to nbcolympics to see video of her routines after reading this. Imagine my surprise that all I could find were videos of her qualification rounds. No videos of Gabby in the finals at all! Can anyone find them?

    • brownstocking August 3, 2012 at 1:17 PM #

      bumped to inquire again…any video fo the actual gold performance? I got so frustrated that I couldn’t find it, either.

  72. valsadie August 2, 2012 at 6:04 AM #

    Once I saw the focus was still going to be on Jordyn EVEN THOUGH GABBY WON THE OLYMPIC TRIALS http://universalsports.com/video/2012-usa-olympic-gymnastics-trials-gabrielle-douglas-wins-trials/ I have just fumed.

  73. BeckyfromVA August 2, 2012 at 6:58 AM #

    Full disclosure- I am a 38 year-old white female – a military brat who settled in Woodbridge VA. Here’s my take away, and why I went searching the internet to hear the multicultural point of view of Gabby. I love her. I think she is a break-through athlete who is going to feed many dreams…and I feel like VA Beach is an area of stark differences- military versus civilian, racial differences, old residents versus the newcomers to the beach, rich versus poor. I dont know Gabby’s background, but I bet she has seen a lot. I have respect for that. I also have respect for her making such a large sacrifice to leave her hometown to pursue her dream. How many of our athletes do that? Not Aly or Jordyn I dont think…I would love to hear about a day in Gabby’s life – in either locale…I would pay to see that. And her mother and her sister(s?)…I saw them as starkly contrasting the Boston crew rooting on Aly and Jordyn’s mom- her mom seemed less comfortable and also less aware of the camera. And could someone mention the darn cameras? I cant imagine teenage girls/young women dealing with so many cameras aimed directly at you when you succeed or fail-wow- I felt for the russian team too. and I would say the same for the parents – you are watching your baby do their best and get judged for it- and the world react- and your every facial expression and body posture will be on TV. So easy- I think not. And here is what I saw- Gabby did hold strong. I bet she was nervous- I got it that she did wonderful- I think more should have been said to that. I would say Aly endeared herself to the public with her tears and her poise- I honestly thought Gabby screwed up at the medal ceremony when her eyes were not focused on the flag- and I think that was why they shifted the focus away from her- she just wasnt looking like she fully was loving the moment- I thought Aly was. I saw Jordyn singing along. I thought Kyla looked awestruck and Maroney looked like she knew what she was supposed to do…but maybe being on that stand is distracting? So let me finish by saying I think Gabby is great- I dont think she got enough attention- I want MORE GABBY…I see it as she has the best story to tell and she is the all-around gymnast (BTW- I too thought Jordyn got too much press, but my husband researched and found that Jordyn was ranked #4 of all gymnasts when she lost that opportunity- so even though she was #3 on our team, she would have been in medal contention if allowed to move forward- it was a tough break- albeit she got beat)…I hope WHEN Gabby gets to the medal stand again she makes us all fall in love with her by showing us what it means to her. Give us an awestruck moment…we want it too- we can route for Gabby and love her- I want to! Alright- now tear me to shreds for saying so… 😉

  74. denise August 2, 2012 at 7:02 AM #

    Thank you for this commentary. Gabby is an immense talent who is not getting the coverage from the media that she deserves.

  75. Shannon Drury August 2, 2012 at 7:09 AM #

    My 7-year-old daughter (who is white, as am I) took one look at Gabby’s smile and fell in love. She had no use for NBC’s pathetic “storyline” about Jordyn and her dreams and so-called leadership and blah blah blah. Miriam saw a charming, strong, incredibly talented young woman and found herself a new hero and role model. I think there are girls across the country of all ages and colors who feel the same way, and I hope all of their moms Tweet this post to NBC. I just did.

  76. Rina August 2, 2012 at 7:46 AM #

    I usually end up just muting the sound on my T.V. when watching the Olympics because I find the commentators distracting and annoying. I have been especially annoyed with the coverage of the women’s gymnastics. The comments on Gabby being able to handle the pressure and their go to reference to her always smiling held for me some underlying negativity on the part of the commentators. If they ever do interview her at length, I expect that after the segment ends, Bob Costas will comment on how well spoken she is.

  77. Amanda August 2, 2012 at 8:20 AM #

    Excellent description of what continues to be hideously embarassing coverage of these games AND the recurrent latent racist issues in sports. [Though I thought Gabby was consistently dissed at the trials as well.] And what about during the team finals, Tim Daggett saying one of the girls was “better than she had any right to be” – unsure if he was disccusing Raisman or Douglas… he was not speaking of Weiber. I love gymnastics and I am amazed at how poised these girls have been throughout; can you imagine being in Weiber’s shoes after missing the individual all-around, and all NBC wants to do is get you on TV while you cry – when they could have been interviewing the actual qualifiers? *sigh*

    In the same vein, did you catch the men’s synchro diving where the commentators were discussing all the pairs by name (even trying to say the Chinese names, though pronouncing Cao as Tsiao because apparently getting phonetic assistance is to sophisticated…) and everytime the eventual silver medalist Mexican divers (whose *very complicated* names are GARCIA and SANCHEZ) came up she would say, “And here are the Mexicans.” Not ‘the Mexican divers’ or ‘the Mexican team’ – “THE MEXICANS” – it was hideous.

    I think our athletes have done us proud in spite of all our media efforts to make us look like the Faux News Nation so many want us to be.

  78. SuzieQ August 2, 2012 at 9:27 AM #

    Aly Raisman is the Captain of the US team so by default she is the one who led them to victory. Anything else is a falsehood.

    • Leota August 2, 2012 at 9:57 AM #

      Aly didn’t compete 4 events.

    • brownstocking August 3, 2012 at 1:18 PM #

      sha-sha-sha…it’s okay.

  79. Leota August 2, 2012 at 9:56 AM #

    Tim Dagget- the primary male commentator has a history of bigoted commenting, beginning with Dominique Dawes and the Magnificent 7 in Atlanta. For years he has chosen favorites among female gymnasts (often blonde and blue-eyed) and insulted and belittled the gymnasts of color: those representing the USA as well as other countries. It’s a travesty and has kept me from following women’s gymnastics for some time now.

  80. Madeline August 2, 2012 at 10:05 AM #

    “Flying Squirrel” is racist? Are you kidding me. She gets that name from her friends in the gym because she gets amazing height on bars and can FLY over the bars on her releases.

    The “International Look” is the ballet style of dancing on floor and leaping on beam that was so prominent by the Soviet gymnasts in the 80’s and 90’s–coupled with a very thin, long legged, ballerina body. Russia IS ballet–the best in the world. Gabby is a slender girl with long legs, just like Nastia Lukin–it’s a flippin’ COMPLIMENT, if anything! Your last Olympic champion was a white, blonde girl who also had the International look–because of her thin body, very long legs and gorgeous leaps.The attention on Jordan Weiber is the due to the fact that she is the all-around, world champion and yet she didn’t make the all-around. The team finals was a chance for the devastated gymast to get her gold. I’m a liberal and think I can see racism when it’s front of me, and I think many of you are WAY over-reaching here.

  81. Val August 2, 2012 at 12:05 PM #

    This is the one time I can say then I have been happy living and watching the games over seas, because these commentators have been obsessed with Gabby from the start over in the UK. NBC could truly go fuck themselves.

  82. Momo August 2, 2012 at 1:04 PM #

    Thank you so much for this perspective! I noticed that Gabby ran off camera when they won, leaving the other 4 to hug each other. It struck me as odd that they did not all turn to each other as I expected, in one big group hug. It’s amazing how much presence and joy Gabby exudes in the midst of all the “pressure” and manages to make her brilliance breathtakingly graceful. You go, Gabby! NBC, wtf.

  83. Butterandeggs August 2, 2012 at 1:06 PM #

    Thank you for writing this, I enjoyed reading it yesterday. Not to be all spoilery, but I just had to come back right now today and comment GO GABBY!! SUCK IT NBC!!! I truly wonder what the TV coverage will bring tonight….

  84. Samuel August 2, 2012 at 1:52 PM #

    Gabby won the All Around GOLD!

    First American and African American woman to win both GOLD in TEAM and INDIVIDUAL event. Conversation closed!

    • armstde August 2, 2012 at 2:16 PM #

      Thanks for spoiling…have been looking forward to seeing her tonight…whole family ready to cheer her on…which we will absolutely do anyway, (and I will not tell my daughters), but gee…my anticipation is certainly diminished. We even watched Tuesday’s events again this morning in anticipation of the big night. Come on…think Samuel! 🙂

    • thinfeminist August 2, 2012 at 2:51 PM #

      Hats off to Gabby winning the individual gold.
      = the best and there’s no arguing with that.

      Heard it said before that competing in team sports does black sportspeople a disservice because less credit for the success and more blame for failures. (This was from a west indian mother, who pushed her son into athletics rather than soccer for this reason. He went on to compete for GB in major events. )

      Anyway, the team vs. individual thing still so? this whole story suggests it with gymnastics, but still true for other sports? just wondering how the different sports line up against each other.

  85. Yvette August 2, 2012 at 3:25 PM #

    I think NBC execs should be made aware of its “partialized” coverage and we should boycott…

  86. American Patriot August 2, 2012 at 3:31 PM #

    I don’t know what planet you people live on, but the networks have tripped over themselves to give this girl more air time and face time, precisely because she is black.

    If you see to the contrary, thats because its what you want to believe.

    Based upon the writers views, black folk will never ever feel like that have arrived. And its BECAUSE of crap like this.

    You see a color – I see a great athlete.

    Shame on the author and all of you who support his views.

    • Yvette August 2, 2012 at 6:18 PM #

      Actually they have not (networks giving air time). Only HLN provided an in depth bio of Gabby and her family with an interview from her mother. I think we all see a very gifted and talented athlete who happens to be of African ancestry, but it is the the lack of coverage by NBC that causes pause.
      I certainly have no shame in voicing a perception and concern

      • Gigi August 3, 2012 at 6:38 AM #

        I don’t know how in-depth the HLN feature was (I didn’t see it), but NBC had a feature on Gabby on the night of qualifying. A significant portion of it was from an interview with her mother (and her siblings). It was all about how she moved away, how difficult that was, how close she is with her family, etc. There was also a lot said about Gabby and her family during the Trials, lots of reaction shots to her mom, etc.

    • Christy Toney August 3, 2012 at 7:41 AM #

      Oh my goodness what have you been watching? Elfi Schlegel and Tim Dagget are NOT excited about Gabby, her gymnastics or her win. Period. They wanted Weiber in this position, and its just even more cruel that their second horse, Raisman missed the podium by coming in 4th. Do me a favor and get your hands on some CTV (Canadian) or BBC coverage of the Qualifying rounds, Team Final and AA and I think you’ll have a “aha” moment for sure.

  87. TheThinker1958 August 2, 2012 at 6:14 PM #

    I guess Chris Rock is right: when you are white ‘the sky is the limit’… when you are black ‘the limit is the sky’….

  88. Glenn August 2, 2012 at 9:01 PM #

    Thanks for this… I felt that way myself….Gabby was the leader today!!!!

    • Mary Kramer August 2, 2012 at 11:18 PM #

      The coverage tonight for the All-Around was truly bizarre. The weirdest thing was the silence after Gabby’s floor routine. A long, awkward silence which Bob Costas tried to smooth over, and then there was another silence. And then the weird comment, “The best thing about the routine was her smile.” Really? Better than the tumbling passes, the form, the expressiveness, the landings? The commentators seemed devastated by Gabby’s win. Lots of sympathy for the Russians who lost and more coverage of them than of Gabby.

      There is a definite media protocol for how you treat US Olympic Gold winners which has been in place for the 40 years I have watched the Olympics. It is mandatory for commentators to gush, to replay bits of the the best parts of the routines, to babble on about getting the gold, going golden, having gone for the gold, blah, blah, blah. There was none of that. Just silence and lots of focus on the Russians. I swear it looked like they were rooting for the Russians almost as much as they had for Jordyn. I am completely creeped out. The silences were mega-creepy and the comment about the best thing about her routine being her smile. I have never ever seen anything like this.

      Go, Gabby!

      • x_yuan August 3, 2012 at 2:30 AM #

        in addition, bob costas concluded the night with comments about her ethnicity, saying the “[racial] barriers have long been removed, but imaginary ones are still there.” IMAGINARY?!?!? :sigh: SMDH. oh, white people, you can be so fucking dense sometimes…

      • Liza August 3, 2012 at 1:46 PM #

        The silence after Gabby’s floor routine last night was so frustrating. When the commentators finally did speak it was to point out a mistake she almost made (stepping out of bounds) but didn’t. We noticed the blatant lack of coverage/enthusiasm for Gabby and Kyla from the first night but to see that by the end when Gabby had won the gold the commentators still couldn’t even pretend to be impressed or happy for her was awful. They continued to focus on her inability to focus – which is an odd criticism to make of someone who just won an individual gold medal. I am really, really angry with NBC. The coverage lasted for days – if the problem was just with the individual commentators there was an opportunity for others within the organization to step in and tell them to change but clearly the issue is much larger. The comment about her smile being the best part of the routine is extremely insulting.

  89. Christy Toney August 3, 2012 at 12:38 AM #

    THANK YOU… I have been wanting to write an article on this… I COMPLETELY AGREE with every word. I have CTV and BBC coverage of all of the events, and trust me, the International community is THOROUGHLY impressed with Gabby and giving her all the kudos she deserves. A shame she can’t get it in her own country.

  90. Andes August 3, 2012 at 5:34 AM #

    She’s our Surya Bonaly
    I think that’s the name of the French skater from France who did the backflips

  91. shanti Dix August 3, 2012 at 3:42 PM #

    VERY well said. This post verbalized my feelings exactly. I have been trying to put into words why the gymnastics commentators have angered me during every event and you said it perfectly “passive aggressive racism!” I’m happy someone is calling them out, hopefully this will make national news so people won’t think we are just pulling the race card.

  92. Lou August 3, 2012 at 5:19 PM #

    Its just the nature of the media and its just how its always been and will ALWAYS be. I get that they talked about Jordyn ALL the time and how she didn’t qualify (trust me, I got so annoyed by that but its what got the ratings just like they talked about the Lockte/Phelps matchup waaaay too much)… they are going to talk about the one that will get the best ratings and try to create as much “hype” as possible. Yes, Gabby beat Jordyn on the second night of trials but Jordyn is the reigning World Champ and I guarantee Gabby would have been “America’s Sweetheart” if she would have won the World Championships!!! There were definitely comments about Gabby every single night, her family’s sacrifice to have her train in Iowa, and how incredibly amazing her bar releases are (helloooo… the Flying Squirrel?!) and they definitely got SO excited about her bar routine. Not to mention Proctor Gamble did spotlights on the top athletes (Ryan Lockte, Gabby, Jordyn, etc) and what sacrifices their moms went through to support them. Also, Gabby is in the CENTER of the Sports Illustrated cover in case you didn’t see it. https://usagym.org/pages/post.html?PostID=10469&prog=h.

    And I’m watching Access Hollywood and she is all over the TV right now. She had an amazing interview this morning on the Today show next to Nastia, Carly, and Mary Lou. She’s officially the new sweetheart in the gymnastics world so lets just celebrate her win and Team USA’s win!

  93. Florence Ringo August 4, 2012 at 1:49 AM #

    Reblogged this on Florence Ringo.

  94. Adeola Ikuomola August 4, 2012 at 2:52 PM #


    Spelled, written and read in gold
    Like fresh sunray in the rainbow
    Dazzling and sparkling skywards
    Like the flashlight of thundering

    Eagle-eyed and focused airborne
    Bouncing like air-nursed balloons
    On the beams you reign supreme
    Like the queen in the royal throne

    With the skies at your golden feet
    And the earth your praises to sing
    Like the golden eagles in full flight
    You are a lioness roaring in trophy

    • Adeola Ikuomola August 4, 2012 at 2:58 PM #

      As above. E-maill address corrected:seasonsglobal@yahoo.com

  95. James August 6, 2012 at 7:46 AM #

    Thanks so much for this posting I felt the same way the slight was so obvious by the media, the coach and her team mates. It should also be noted that the press has seen fit to talk about her Mother’s financhia situation which is soley her business. In spite of these injustices let’s keep positive and continue to support each other and those that belive in being just good ole people.

  96. mickinickharp August 6, 2012 at 11:50 AM #

    While I did notice some media derision geared toward Gabby during the Olympics, I didn’t feel that the derision was racially motivated. I viewed any derision at Gabby through the lens that her stellar performances and Jordyn’s less-than-Gabby’s were messing up the narrative of Jordyn as an Olympic lock that NBC created. I took huge issues with the way NBC handled the entirety of its Olympic coverage, and that included the way that even on the Olympic stand for the team medals, they were focused on Jordyn’s reactions to everything, instead of Gabby’s amazing achievements. But again, I thought that coverage came more from a place of trying to manufacture drama and suspense rather than racism. I also saw quite a lot of coverage and interviews that focused on the difficulties Gabby’s family had throughout her training and listened to more than one announcer discuss her family as they watched her perform, so I didn’t take away that Gabby was ignored in favor of the other gymnasts. Who I did think got the shaft, all the way around, was Kyla Ross, and I did wonder if perhaps she wasn’t ignored because there was–as so many of the other commentators have pointed out–no neat box to put her, socially/racially, or otherwise. I did wonder whether or not Aly Raisman had a non-WASP ethnicity but didn’t know until a couple of days ago when a news blog pointed out that she was Jewish. I feel fairly certain no media outlet would ever comment on her achievements as a Jewish woman or the issues of navigating Jewishness in American society because our nation has such an odd relationship with Jewishness, Israel, etc. These are just my observations as a white woman. I enjoy the site and its commentators.

  97. reader August 8, 2012 at 7:51 PM #

    Note how much press Usain Bolt is given, especially with white girls. Compare it to what is written about Gabby, how she is ignored by the media, and how the two black females were not invited on the show, when they won medals, and the white girl that placed 4th was invited.
    The media is trying to destroy black females.

  98. Jack Foley August 13, 2012 at 2:24 PM #

    Twice I’ve caught Bob Costas selling Gabby short: once when he said (I’m paraphrasing) that Gabby would be a great role model “for young African-American women” (because nobody else would be inspired by her, right?), and during some comments on the final day of the Olympics, when they’re reviewing The Fab Five. He comments about each of the girls and what they bring to the table… especially focusing on how “Jordyn came through for the team”… and then ends the comments by just mentioning Gabby’s “smile”. LOL. Because she did nothing else for the team but -smile-. Awful.

    I didn’t have a problem with Costas before these games. Now I don’t like him at all.

  99. Ovela Williams August 17, 2012 at 6:36 PM #

    This is a much needed well said comment/article.


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