Gabby Douglas' gold medal is being hailed all over the place as a first for an African-American gymnast. But I believe it's actually much more than that: Gabby is the first black athlete from anywhere to win the title, and one of very few to compete for it. I'm a good liberal, and all for the term "African-American" in its proper context, but in this case it seems to shrink the scale of Ms. Douglas's first – and America's. (Afro.com covers it here.) The fact that our country, while imperfect, is one where a traditionally elite (and still of course expensive) sport is open to anyone with the chops to win, gives me enormous pride. Seeing our multi-hued team of talented, determined young women – their families must have originally come here from all over the place – take apart the monochromatic, over-made-up, bawling Russians – that's where I get my Olympic jingoism on. America fuck yeah.
Update from another:
I was looking at the U.S. women’s gymnastics team and it occurred to me that we’re seeing what America looks like, that is there’s an African American, Asian American and Jewish American as part of the team.
Wow! what an amazing win and accomplishment by Gabby. An inspiration for tons of girls out there. And what a smile!
But really? This reaction from one of your readers: "Seeing our multi-hued team of talented, determined young women take apart the monochromatic, over-made-up, bawling Russians – that's where I get my Olympic jingoism on."
Take all the pride in this country, because there are many things worth to be proud of, but deriding young girls from another country, because they all look white, and cry when they lose, like any other teenager in the world would do? Ugh.
(Top photo: Bronze medalist Aliya Mustafina of Russia, gold medalist Gabrielle Douglas of the United States and silver medalist Victoria Komova of Russia pose after the medal ceremony in the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Individual All-Around final on August 2, 2012. By Streeter Lecka/Getty Images. Bottom photo: Jordyn Wieber, Gabrielle Douglas, Mc Kayla Maroney, Alexandra Raisman and Kyla Ross of the United States celebrate on the podium after winning the gold medal in the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team final on July 31, 2012. By Jamie Squire/Getty Images)