Image Source: Getty / Laurence Griffiths / Staff
Gabby Douglas has been training for years to prepare for her second Olympics, but nothing really could prepare her for the internet trolls who came after the gold medalist for everything from her hair to her hand placement during the national anthem.
But the star gymnast isn't blinking twice about it. When we spoke with Gabby, we asked her how she rises above it all, and she gave a remarkably optimistic response: "You just have to look at the positive and throw out the negative [comments]; embrace your inequalities, don't listen to any negative things or even read it, . . . and always keep your chin up." Some pretty sage advice that many of us — young and old — can take to heart when it comes to dealing with hatefulness online or otherwise.
"Embrace your inequalities and always keep your chin up."
Gabby told us that her mom, her family, and her community have helped support her throughout her gymnastics career. "Sometimes I look at my family in the stands, and I feel that support system," she told us. "It's the extra 'You can do this.'" She noted that regardless of what went down on the web, "Getting to experience another Olympics was amazing. Rio was amazing."
So after a graceful, poised young woman rises above the haters — with a gold medal around her neck — what does she have to say to the whole world? "Thank you. Thank you for the love and support that everyone shared. In this whole situation, I'm just truly so grateful." Nothing but class.
We also asked her what the future holds for Gabby Douglas. "Uhh . . . dinner? [laughs]." Although her plans are day by day now that she's reached such a major goal, she said, "I'm just enjoying every single moment." And her next project? Gabby is now empowering people on the internet with a new initiative called #StandForProgress. It's all about bringing more positivity into social media. Seems fitting, no?
"I'm encouraging everyone to use social media as a good and positive thing and to use the hashtag StandForProgress," Gabby told POPSUGAR. "It's pretty cool because they can tweet their progress and how they've overcome obstacles." And she's certainly leading by example.