12/10/2012 10:43 am ET Updated Jan 02, 2013

Gabby Douglas Opens Up On Absent Father And Racism (VIDEO)

Olympic gold-winning gymnast Gabrielle Douglas has released a memoir where she discusses some of the struggles she's faced in her life, including her broken relationship with her father.

Gabby recently revealed on "Katie," she was shocked when her father showed up at the Olympic Games. Gabby's father had been largely absent from her life since 2001, a fact she has discussed several times in the past.

According to the New York Post, Douglas slammed her Air Force father as a deadbeat yesterday, blaming him for her mom, Natalie Hawkins', financial woes.

“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, 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.

Douglas also opened up about her battle with racism at the gym.

The 16-year-old's memoir, "Grace, Gold and Glory: My Leap of Faith" is on sale now. Check out Gabrielle Douglas' interview in the clip above.


Gabby Douglas