Olympic gold medalist Dominique Dawes is not a fan of calling Gabrielle “Gabby” Douglas by her nickname, “Flying Squirrel.”
Douglas was nicknamed the “Flying Squirrel” by Martha Karolyi, National Team Coordinator for USA Gymnastics, for her aerial performance on the uneven bars.
The 35-year-old Dawes, who won her gold medal in 1996, wishes people had an alternative name for the 16-year-old gold medal winner.
“I will be honest with you; I do not like that nickname. I’m going to call her ‘Doin’ It Douglas,’ ‘Wowing It Douglas.’ I am trying my hardest to come up with a nickname that’s going to stick. She does fly on the uneven bars, she wows the crowd, you jump out of your seat. Maybe you can be creative and come up a good nickname. I don’t know if she does [or doesn’t like the nickname] but I’ll tell you what I feel about it. It’s a nickname but I think there are others that better describe her talent. Why don’t we collaborate? We’ll tweet about it,” Dawes said, in an interview with C.J. at the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Dawes, who covered the 2012 Olympics in London as a reporter for Fox Sports, also admitted that she understands why people still ask questions about being a Black person in an elite sport that’s mostly white.
“The sport of gymnastics is still primarily a white sport though if you look at these young girls preparing for the London Olympic Games, we have a young African-American gymnast in Gabby Douglas, who’s leading the way. She won the Olympic trials. She’s someone that when you watch her do gymnastics you have to jump out of your seat. You have to applaud,” she explained.
The Silver Spring, Md.-bred star acknowledged that she was overwhelmed by seeing Douglas win her first gold medal.
“I’m doing work now for FoxSports.com. I was at the Olympic trials, I’m in the media section and, you know, you’re not supposed to show a bias or favoritism at all and I was jumping out of my seat watching this young, little girl. She’s been a nice leader on the floor but during my ’96 Olympics team there was myself and a Romanian-American, Dominique Moceanu, and Asian-American in Amy Chow. We’ve had diversity in the sport. It just needs to be recognized more,” she closed.
VIDEO: Watch this video of Dominique Dawes discussing Gabby Douglas on Fox Sports.