As America celebrates the commanding victory the U.S. women’s gymnastics team turned in at the Olympic games, many of us are wondering why the mainstream media isn’t intent on making 16-year-old Gabrielle Douglas happen.
Dubbed “The Flying Squirrel,” Douglas secured her spot on the team by beating out all of her competitors at the U.S. Olympic trials, and yet, throughout the team finals Tuesday night, the commentators kept remarking on how uncertain everyone was about her skills.
Could she deliver a consistent performance?
She’s a strong gymnast, but…
Some had questioned whether she’d even make the all-around team…
Will she crack under pressure?
Their doubts were apparent. Never mind the teen accounted for a third of her team’s points and competed in all four events that evening. Never mind that she did turn in a commanding performance just days before and secure her spot in the all-around competition, a feat the reigning world champ did not do.
Apparently, none of that mattered because it didn’t quite fit into the narrative the media was working overtime to create.
Jordyn Wieber, their favorite daughter, was out, and Gabby Douglas was in. And some folks just couldn’t handle it.
I thought I was the only one who picked up on the fact that NBC and its commentators just couldn’t let Gabby be great, but apparently many of you caught on as well.
The comments about the media’s insistence to turn Wieber into a sympathetic figure instead of celebrating Douglas and teammate Aly Raisman’s medal bid in the all-around, echoed my sentiments to a tee.
“I’m more mad at the fact that the media has chosen Jordyn Wieber as the “star” of this years team despite the fact that Gabby Douglas has consistently out scored her AND all of Gabby’s scores, in all four events, has counted towards the US Gold win.”
And from the looks of the responses, others noticed the biased media coverage as well.
Although I know part of the fun of the Olympics is learning the backstory of the athletes, the real beauty of the games is that often times legends are born out of nowhere.
A perfect performance, a hard-fought win, a memorable record, these are the things that should shape who garners the media spotlight, not producers looking to adhere to their now-defunct storylines.
Thankfully for Gabby Douglas, her spirit and her will to win cannot be stopped. Despite the media’s resistance, she will be one of the stars of these Olympic games for years to come.
*Photo via Time magazine