My Words to Gabby - Olympic GOLD Medalist

Last night, we sat down to watch the Olympics just as we had been doing since the opening ceremony.  I have cheered, bitten nails, and teared up at many of the stories of the athletes and the triumphs they have conquered to get to the big dance.  Who knew the Olympics would be THIS emotional?

This year, my two children are now old enough to sit still and watch along with my husband and I.  Their excitement evident with "oohs, ahhs, and wow's.)  Their favorite sports are the high dive, synchronized high dive, ginnastics (gymnastics as my 4 year old pronounces it), swimming, fencing, and track.  I think that about covers it.  While we were flying home from a family reunion July 4th weekend, we had a layover and watched the USA Olympic trials while awaiting connecting flights.  That's when we met Gabby.

I am so glad that my daughter was able to not only watch the competition, but to witness a girl with the same skin color as she participate on TV.  As an African American mother of a very impressionable 6 year old, this is extremely important.  We moved to Valley Stream because of its rich cultural diversity.  However, she has asked me countless times why her skin is darker than her classmates.  She has asked me why her hair isn't straight or long and "yellow" like her classmates.  She has also noticed how darker her skin is compared to that of both her mother's and brother's skin.  I tell her, "God made you the way he wanted to and that you are beautiful."

For over 10 years, I have worked with girls ages 8-17 years old in etiquette, self-esteem, and imaging.  I have coordinated and hosted workshops around these very issues, and then some.  I have always had a heart for young girls. I was one.  I know how hard it is at times to be one.  Now I have a young daughter and it's time to develop and shape her self-image.  I thought I had time, but apparently I don't.  It is hard to do this on a daily basis, but I'm doing it.  I have to do it.

Regarding Gabby and the talk about her hair.  People, you need to stop.  While you're at home watching it on your sofa, she's AT the Olympics representing her country.  This young lady has worked her TAIL off to make it TO the Olympics and now that she made it she won GOLD.  Not Silver, Bronze, or honorable mention, but she won GOLD. She deserved to win GOLD.  It is pretty evident that she and the rest of the extremely impressionable teenage Olympic gymnasts are reading the blogs.  Gabby is wondering, "What is wrong with my hair?"  Nothing is wrong with your hair, Gabby.  Your and your hair are beautiful.

Readers, don't you think that the hair comments that she read hours before her competition last night were weighing heavily on her impressionable mind seconds before she lost balance on the beam last night almost plunging to the floor?  Her career could have ended the same week she won gold.  She was flawless in the EXACT same routine days before.  Now this?  Her bar performance lacked concentration causing her to make an error.  She made a simple mistake because she is reading and listening to the crap that the media, bloggers and commenters are making about her hair.  SHUT UP!!!  The reason her dad isn't sharing a seat next to her family is NONE OF OUR BUSINESS!

Courtesy of
The girl is set to make millions in endorsements and she's just a baby!  She made HISTORY as the FIRST African American woman to win Gold or even double Gold, and she's not even legally a woman yet. She can  barely drive, is just able to get a job (that she won't have to work because she's on her way to wealth), and can't vote. Yet.  The lives of her family and her future children and grandchildren are now financially secure because of sacrifice and work ethic.  But words are trying to ruin this new developing empire before it has a chance to be built.  Is this how society, America, treats its own?  Who says "words can never hurt me?"

Gabby, I want to personally thank you for being a great role model to my daughter and other little girls across the world.  You show her what hard work, sacrifice, focus, and professionalism look like.  I can tell that you are beautiful inside and out, and that your mom has raised a beautiful young lady.  Keep shining on the inside and out and allow the light that God has given you to continue to shine onto others.

My daughter and I will see you in Brooklyn November 18th.

Follow Valley Stream Mom on Facebook or on Twitter @valleystreammom.


  1. What a beautiful post Kim! I'm glad you wrote it.

  2. Thank you Kim! I couldn't have said it better myself. I KNOW that seeing Gabby win the Gold had an impact on my 4-year old daughter. It may not be evident right now, but in the future, she may be in a position to wonder if she should or could do something that may seem impossible and see Gabby's face and be encouraged.

  3. Right on Kim! You nailed it! I honestly do not see anything wrong with her hair. She is a beautiful young lady!

  4. Didn't even know that her hair was a thing. We always watch Gymnastics and I loved watching Gabby and all the others...but didn't look into much of the peripheral stuff about the Olympics. It seems kind of petty to me to make a big deal about the hairstyle choice of a young woman who has made it all the way to the Olympics. And frankly, Olympian or not, criticising any teenager's hair just seems mean to me.