Gabby Douglas tells Oprah Winfrey about being bullied
VideosGabby Douglas throws out first pitch Gabby Douglas soaking up the spotlight Douglas wins all-around title
Even heroic Olympic gold medalists aren't immune to bullying.
Two-time gold medal gymnast Gabrielle Douglas revealed in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that she faced bullying, torment and even racism from old teammates in Virginia Beach, Va. It got so bad that she considered quitting the sport two years ago.
"I felt [I was] being bullied and isolated from the group and they treated me not how they would treat their other teammates," Douglas told Winfrey in the interview, which is set to air Sunday on Winfrey's OWN network.
"I definitely felt isolated. I felt like, 'Why am I deserving this?' " she said.
Douglas went on: "One of my teammates was like, 'Could you scrape the bar?' And they were like, 'Why doesn't Gabby do it, she's our slave.'
"Is it because I'm black? Like, those thoughts would go through my mind," she said.
Douglas, 16, won individual and team gold medals in London earlier this month, and was largely seen as one of Team USA's most prominent stars to emerge from the games.
But her early career hazing nearly made the Olympics nothing more than a dream, said her mother, Natalie Hawkins.
"There were some things that were going on that she was sharing with me and some things that she wasn't because she knew how I would react," Hawkins told Winfrey, adding that when Douglas was 14, she had hit a breaking point.
"She said, 'I'd rather quit. If I can't move and train and get another coach, I'd rather quit the sport,' " Hawkins said.
That's when she took Douglas to train in Iowa, where Douglas was able to continue her journey to the Olympics.
Douglas also addressed the controversy around her hair, which became a major talking point during the Olympics, with Winfrey. Many on Twitter and in the blogosphere called it "messy" and unkempt.
"It hurt a little bit," Douglas said.