After Gabby Douglas' disappointing day in an otherwise outstanding Olympics, the golden girl of the games is allegedly discussing her father, Timothy Douglas, who has been noticeably absent from the events, in a less than positive light.
“It was really hard for us growing up — my dad had left us, so he wasn’t really in the picture anymore,” Douglas reportedly said. "So my mom had to front all these bills. My dad didn’t really pay the child support. He was short [on money]. It was definitely hard on her part, and she had to take care of me and the rest of my siblings."
In an interview with NBC News last week, however, Douglas described her father's absence more favorably. "I just had to pray to God just to keep him safe and tell the angels to keep my dad safe and come home," she said of her dad, an Air Force Staff Sgt. stationed in Afghanistan as part of the Air National Guard, 203rd Red Horse Squadron.
Prior to the U.S. Olympic Trials in June, Douglas had not seen her father since 2010, USA Today reports. "There's an exuberance. There's a feeling that you can't describe," Timothy Douglas told the paper of seeing his 16-year-old daughter in person for the first time in nearly two years. "Sometimes, when she had a rough time, I'd tell her to hang in there. 'You know what it takes to be a winner, you know what your goals are. You just keep on your goals.' Some things that I tell her I have to remind myself. Those are all things we can all abide by," he said.
Though Douglas and Hawkins are still in the process of divorcing, Douglas was deployed to the Middle East when his daughter was just 9.
Despite the separation, both of Douglas' parents have been supportive of her Olympic dreams. According to the New York Daily News, Douglas said he provided advice to his daughter via Skype, encouraging his daughter to never give up on her dreams of a gold medal.
In regards to her less-than-peak performance on the uneven bars, Douglas told the New York Post: “Toward the end of the Olympics, you get physically tired and drained. And no matter how much rest you have, your body is tired,” she said. “I made a little mistake, but I’m human . . . I don’t know, you just get to mentally, you’re just so tired."
CORRECTION: In a previous version of this story, the headline incorrectly stated that Timothy Douglas was being blamed for his daughter's losing performance. We regret this error.