Gymnast Gabby Douglas has captured the heart of America and the world this Olympics with her incredible performances and winning personality, but she’s also revealed that life hasn’t always been all smiles.
Douglas, 16, and her three siblings have been raised by her mother, Natalie Hawkins, who has often been seen rooting her daughter on from the stands. Less has been said though about her father, and the gold medalist Douglas has now spoken out a little bit about her relationship with her so-called deadbeat dad, Timothy Douglas, a staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force.
“It was really hard for us growing up — my dad had left us, so he wasn’t really in the picture anymore,” Douglas said according to the New York Post.“So my mom had to front all these bills. My dad didn’t really pay the child support. He was short (on money). It was definitely hard on her part, and she had to take care of me and the rest of my siblings.”
Gabby Douglas revealed that even after winning two gold medals, she had not been in touch with her father, though the Daily Mail reports Timothy Douglas is in London for the games. The Daily Mail, which in its headline deemed Timothy Douglas a deadbeat dad, also reports he has not seen Gabby perform there as she did not provide him with tickets.
Timothy Douglas did however appear at the U.S. Olympic trials in June, waving an American flag and cheering his daughter on.
“I’m like, “Who’s calling my name?” And then I look up, it was my dad and his friend, and I haven’t seen him in awhile,’ ” Gabby told the Des Moines Register. ‘They were holding up the flag. And I almost fell like bawling. I was like, “Oh, my gosh, Dad!’ “
For his part, Timothy Douglas feels pride when watching Gabby Douglas compete, telling the Register, “There’s an exuberance. There’s a feeling that you can’t describe.”
Though he left Gabby’s mother, it doesn’t appear the gymnast harbors terrible feelings for her old man. When she saw him at the Olympic trials she told the Register, “Seeing him made my night, actually.”
Gabby Douglas’ Olympic run was a memorable one this year. While stories have surfaced about some negative reaction to her appearance, a poorly timed NBC commercial and her so-called deadbeat dad, it is fair to say Gabby Douglas will be remembered for capturing the public’s attention and for a striking performance as a gymnast at the London Olympics in 2012.