Being a female athlete is hard enough without harsh criticism from your peers and followers. Gabby Douglas has received a slew of hurtful comments via social media, attacking everything from the way she pledges her allegiance to the way she wears her hair.
"When they talk about my hair or me not putting my hand on my heart or me being very salty in the stands, they're really criticizing me," Douglas told reporters on Sunday. "It doesn't really feel good. It was a little bit hurtful."
The 20-year-old Olympian had hoped to defend her 2012 title in Rio's Games, but was thrown off by the onslaught of hateful comments. This resulted in "her lackluster performance" on Sunday, where she finished seventh in the uneven bars.
Some even criticized Douglas for not showing the proper amount of support for her teammates, Aly Raisman and Simon Biles, after their respective silver and gold medal victories during the individual finals.
Raisman later clarified that Douglas congratulated them back at the Olympic Village dorm.
"Everything I've gone through has been a lot this time around," Douglas said, "and I apologize if [I seemed] really mad in the stands. I wasn't. I was supporting Aly. And I always will support them and respect them in everything they do. I never want anyone to take it as I was jealous or I wanted attention. Never. I support them, and I'm sorry that I wasn't showing it."
"I've been through a lot," she added. "I still love them. I still love the people who love me. Still love them who hate me. I'm just going to stand on that."
While it may appear the harsh sting of hatred is screaming at her, Douglas has just as many supporters out there, who send her daily messages using #LOVE4GABBYUSA.
Celebrities are even joining the love train! Saturday Night Live's Leslie Jones was shocked to hear about the amount of disrespect Douglas has had to endure.https://twitter.com/Lesdoggg/status/765052419709476865
Some of the criticism has gotten so bad, Douglas' mother stepped in to defend her daughter's character.
"You name it and she got trampled," Natalie Hawkins said of her daughter. "What did she ever do to anyone?"
Douglas may not have kept up with the bar she set back in London 2012, but her teammates are on the rise – and she could not be happier!
It just goes to show, even professional athletes can get frazzled. But Douglas has handled it all with grace, even saying her time in Rio has been "an amazing, crazy – also fun – experience."
Keep your chin up, Gabby!