Gabby Douglas has given more specifics to the alleged bullying she faced at Excalibur Gymnastics in Virginia, saying that a staffer there suggested that she get reconstructive surgery on her nose.
Gabby Douglas said that the nose job comment was so hurtful that it shook her confidence in training and continuing in gymnastics, Fox Sports reported.
Douglas had previously claimed that she was the victim of racial bullying at the gym, telling Oprah Winfrey that she even considered leaving gymnastics because of it. The gym’s management has denied the claims, saying that she was actually favored over other gymnasts.
Gabby Douglas has since moved away from Virginia Beach to train in Des Moines, Iowa.
In her latest allegations, Gabby Douglas told Vanity Fair that, in one incident, she returned from training to find that her t-shirt was gone from her locker.
“You don’t actually take by mistake someone’s clothes,” she said.
Dena Walker, a coach and financial partner at Excalibur, didn’t deny Gabby Douglas’ nose job allegations but said the comment was a joke. Walker insisted that the gym took precautions to ensure athletes did not feel bullied or threatened.
Walker even went so far as to take give Excalibur credit for Douglas amazing abilities, which helped lead the US Olympic team to gold at the 2012 Olympics and helped her capture the individual all-around gold as well.
“We did with Gabby far beyond what are our coaches’ duties,” Walker said in an email to Vanity Fair. “We are proud of what we did. How is it possible … to not recognize that she reached [her] level with our help, our economic support, our passion and our love?”
Walked added that it was actually Gabby Douglas that had a bad attitude at times. Other gymnasts have also defended the gym against Gabby Douglas’ nose job and racial bullying allegations.