Gabby Douglas Responds
After Being Criticized for Not Putting Hand on Her Heart During National Anthem
Gabby Douglas left Tuesday's overall team competition with a new gold medal and a fresh Twitter controversy.
Soon after she and her Final Five teammates became the first-ever U.S. Olympic gymnastics team to bring home back-to-back gold, Douglas was criticized by social media users who noticed that the 20-year-old was the only team member who didn't place a hand over her heart as the national anthem played during the medal ceremony.
Some Twitter users were quick to claim that Douglas's failure to do so was disrespectful to the United States and the Olympic Games.
Um, Gabby Douglas. Why is your hand not on your heart during our National Anthem? #teamusa #finalfive
-- Chelsey Lamar (@misschelseygail) August 9, 2016
While others interpreted her action as a political statement on the anniversary of Michael Brown's killing.
There are no team rules for podium behavior except standing and looking at the flag (both things Douglas was doing) and Douglas was not the first athlete to forgo the hand gesture.
Still, three-time Olympic gold medalist took to Twitter to clarify that she "never meant any disrespect."
"First I want to say thank you everyone for all your support!! It's a huge honor for me to be able to represent #TeamUSA," she wrote. "In response to a few tweets I saw tonight, I always try to stand at attention out of respect for our country whenever the national anthem is played. I never meant any disrespect and apologize if I offended anyone."
"I'm so overwhelmed at what our team accomplished today and overjoyed that we were able to bring home another gold for our country!" she continued.