Olympian Gabby Douglas Responds to Her Hair Critics

The 16-year-old gold medalist says people who call her hair unstylish "have no idea what they're talking about"

At 16 years old, the amazing Gabby Douglas is leaving London with two gold medals in gymnastics. The first African American to win the Olympic all-around final, she's a true American hero -- but for some reason, certain viewers just can't get past her hair.

Some have criticized her ponytail, held back with barrettes and gel, as looking insufficiently stylish for the Olympic games. Others have said that her chemically straightened hair sends a negative message to the African-American community. So, is all the buzz giving the teenage champ second thoughts about her 'do?

Not a chance.

"They have no idea what they're talking about," Douglas told Us Weekly of her critics. "You sweat and all the gel and hairspray comes out. Even if we did fix our hair, our coach would be like, 'This is not a beauty pageant! Leave it alone.'"

Needless to say, the Olympics don't leave a whole lot of time for a complex beauty regime.

"There's no bathroom," Douglas explained. "We rotate from event to event so there's no time for them to say 'Representing the USA, Gabrielle Douglas' and me to say 'Yeah, thanks!' as I'm brushing my hair. It's like, come on."

As for those who think she shouldn't be straightening her hair? The Virginia Beach native would prefer that they focus on the big picture.

"It's so disrespectful! I'm not thinking about that," she scoffed. "I'm thinking about bringing a gold medal home."

As Douglas said in her interview with iVillage's Kelly Wallace, the most important thing for her is to inspire other girls to achieve.

"I'm so happy, and I think it's so cool that the younger girls are looking up to me as a role model," the gymnast gushed to iVillage after winning the gold. "I'm so glad people can look up to me and say 'I want to do that.'"



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