Gabby Douglas Responds to National Anthem Controversy

By Chika Dunu, Epoch Times
August 11, 2016 Updated: August 11, 2016

American Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas responded after being criticized for not having her right hand over her heart as the national anthem played during the U.S. gymnastic’s gold medal ceremony at the Rio Olympics on Aug. 9.

“First I want to say thank you everyone for all your support! 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 wrote.

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

Unlike the rest of her teammates—Simone Biles, Laurie Hernandez, Aly Raisman, and Madison Kocian—who placed their hands over their hearts, Douglas was photographed with her hands clutched in front of her. 

The gesture was deemed disrespectful by some social media users, who took to Twitter to air their displeasure with the Olympian.

Others said they did not understand the controversy.

Some Twitter users viewed Douglas’ stance as making a political statement and sided with the 20-year-old’s choice.