Posts tagged olympics.
If you ever feel bad about your own life choices, just remember that a comittee of people out there actually decided that “Hot. Cool. Yours.” was a good slogan for the next winter Olympics.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
I approve of this math.
What all of these stories have in common with the hair fiasco is that they reveal the media’s appetite for negative portrayals of Black femininity and, per Cottom, its inability to “accommodate [a] narrative…of a [woman of color] being extraordinary.” Now that Gabby’s excellence is so proven that it can’t be ignored, the media has latched on to a manufactured controversy that conveniently distracts from her accomplishments. Some in the media have preferred to portray Gabby’s family as “broken” and mismanaged by an inadequate Black mother.
It’s no coincidence that hair, one of the most visible markers and symbols of Black women’s difference in a White-dominated culture, has become a focal point of Gabby’s story. The media must forever make an issue of our difference, even in moments of triumph, but never in a way that engages with critical analysis of power and oppression. We’d rather focus on Olympians’ finances than on the fact that the U.S. is virtually alone in denying government funding to Olympic hopefuls - forcing middle-class athletes away from home and to the brink of poverty to achieve their Olympic dreams. Media erasure of swimmer Cullen Jones, the latest “controversy” over Serena Williams’ celebratory crip-walk, and sexist attacks on Lolo Jones are just the most recent examples of how Black athletes at the top of their game are never allowed to simply be great.
But instead about this we’re talking about hair, and the much more significant story of Black girls and women celebrating Gabby and pushing back on racism and sexism in coverage of her has been lost.
Winning Olympic vaults, 56 years apart
Dominique Dawes Cries Through Interview On Gabby Douglas’s Win
Before this week’s gold-winning performance by the U.S. women’s team, only one African-American female had ever earned an Olympic gold medal in gymnastics — Dominique Dawes.
It’s a fact that Dawes tearfully recalledafter watching 16-year-old Gabby Douglas succeed her in the individual all-around competition Thursday, edging out the other gymnasts with a score of 62.232, and becoming the fourth American woman to ever win gold in the event.
“Us gymnasts are usually so composed,” Dawes said, choking back tears in an interview with FOX Sports. “I am so thrilled for Gabby … I’m so thrilled to change my website and take down the fact that I was the only African American with a gold medal.”
Dawes nabbed the most coveted medal as a part of the famous 1996 team, along with bronze for her performance in the individual floor competition the same year.
Her emotion over Douglas’s win overflowed on Twitter where she later announced the website change
Dawes went on to describe the anxiety she felt prior to Thursday’s meet, comparing her experience as a spectator to being on the floor back in 1996.
When asked what touched her heart the most, Dawes responded that it was the generation of young kids looking up to Douglas in the same way they did with her. “That’s what’s so touching,” she said “As I was able to help Gabby, now she’s going to help a whole other generation of young girls and boys, African Americans, Hispanics, other minorities to see the sport of gymnastics as an opportunity for them to excel.”
Thursday’s win was a first for Douglas as well. At 16-years-old she’s become the first African-American to win an Olympic all-around title.