Gabby Douglas Criticized For Medal Ceremony Gesture (Photos)

| by Michael Doherty
Gabby Douglas at the Rio 2016 Olympics.Gabby Douglas at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Gabby Douglas, the Olympian who took home a gold medal with the U.S. women's gymnastics team in the Rio Olympics, has come under fire for not putting her hand over her heart while the U.S. national anthem played.

During the anthem, Douglas' "Final Five" teammates placed their hands on their hearts, but Douglas stood with her hands at her side, in a gesture some on social media have called "disrespectful," according to the Daily Mail. Douglas has insisted that she was standing at attention, and no disrespect was intended.

Douglas, 20, said that she "meant no disrespect" and apologized if anyone was offended by her actions. "It's a huge honor for me to be able to represent #TeamUSA. In response to a few tweets I saw tonight, I always stand at attention out of respect for our country whenever the national anthem is played," she tweeted, according to The Washington Post.

"I never meant any disrespect and apologize if I offended anyone," Douglas added. "I’m so overwhelmed at what our team accomplished today and overjoyed that we were able to bring home another gold for our country."

After the ceremony, users on social media criticized Douglas for not putting her hand over heart during the anthem or mouthing the anthem as it played.

"Um, Gabby Douglas," wrote Twitter user Chelsey Lamar. "Why is your hand not on your heart during our National Anthem?"

"Gabby Douglas just standing there and not placing her hand over her heart while our anthem played was UN-olympic," tweeted user Dawn Wisdom, adding the hashtag #respect.

User Angela added to the criticism, tweeting at Douglas, "There is NO excuse as to why you could not salute the flag of the country that gave you the opportunity to compete."

Douglas' role in the Rio events were more subdued than her star turn in the 2012 London Olympics. This time around, she spent most of her time cheering on her teammates, as well as going out for a turn on the uneven bars.

Douglas and her teammate Aly Raisman became the first Americans to win back-to-back Olympic team titles, which Douglas said was an amazing feeling.

"It was fine, when I was watching I wanted to encourage the girls as much as I can and when I was competing just contribute to Team USA as best as I could," she said. "It's just so special to have this bond with these girls and we all put in so much hard work so when the outcome is great you feel you accomplished something."

"It feels amazing especially to be alongside Aly," Douglas continued. "We did this again and history again. It is just phenomenal."

Sources: Daily Mail, Washington Post / Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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