A HuffPost TV article reports that 2012 Oympic Gold Medalist, Gabby Douglas, sat down for a special edition of "Oprah's Next Chapter" (Sun., 8:30 p.m. ET on OWN) to talk about her two gold medals, and record-setting performances in gymnastics. In that interview Gabby talked about her experiences at Excalibur Gymnastics in Virginia Beach, saying she said "she was met with racism and ridicule", and said "at one point she was actually referred to by another gymnast as their "slave.""
The article said "Douglas felt so unwelcome in Virginia that she moved to the gym in Iowa where she blossomed into the gold medalist who wowed the world in London."
However, I watched an interview Gabbys' mother, Natalie hawkins, had held on HLN, in that interview her mother said the reason for the move to Iowa was because Gabby met Liang Chow, coach of 2008 Olympian Shawn Johnson, at a coaching clinic, and wanted Chow to coach her. The issue of racism never came up during that interview.
According to Ms. hawkins, Gabby was excited to have an opportunity to work with such a well respected coach and begged her mother to let her go to Iowa. Ms. Hawkins, said and she made, what was described as a very difficult decision, and allowed Gabby to to move to Iowa and train with Chow. See video of interview;
In a statement to E! News, the CEO, Gustavo Maure, of Excalibur Gymnastics denies Douglas' claims of racism, saying, "Gabby's remarks were hurtful and without merit."
Another athlete who trained at Excalibur for eight years (two of them alongside Douglas,....) stated that Douglas' comments were "absolutely ridiculous."
Another article by posted by Tom Robinson for The Virginian-Pilot, reports Gabby complained to her mother that her coaches at Excalibur were openly bickering so much "that she's lost confidence in their shared approach". According to the article, Hawkins said, "what was I to do when my daughter is falling behind rivals because national staffers say she's being taught skills incorrectly, and when the gym refuses her direct request to alter the coaching arrangement?"
"I wasn't looking to move my child all the way to Iowa," Hawkins said. "They didn't leave me a choice but to leave. I won't tell you all about the dysfunction that was going on in the gym."
Hawkins said she first tried to move her entire family in with an uncle in Texas, where Gabby would train with an acclaimed coach. But the coach, out of loyalty to Walker and Moure, [of Excalibur] would not accept Douglas. The next stop was Chow, who, after calling to tell the Excalibur coaches that Douglas was at his door, took her in.
Again, nowhere in the Robinson article is there any reference to racial innuendo at the Excalibur Gym.
It sounds to me like someone may be fabricating the racism charge, in an effort to 'juice up' the interview (and the ratings) for the Douglas interview.