If you missed it, here’s Gabby’s appearance on “Oprah’s Next Chapter” from August 26th. The interview touched on Gabby’s feelings of isolation and bullying while at Excalibur’s gym in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She said, “I felt I was being bullied” and “I definitely felt isolated. I felt, ‘Why am I deserving this? Is it because I’m black?’”. She also described an incident where the other girls said, “Why doesn’t Gabby do it? She’s our slave” when they needed someone to scrape chalk off the bars.
It’s impossible to know for sure what went on behind the walls of the gym, but those at Excalibur say Gabby is lying. Randy Stageburg (female) is a former Senior International Elite and National Team member. She had this to say about Gabby’s comments and her former gym:
This is absolutely ridiculous. I trained at Excalibur gymnastics for 8 years and I personally trained with gabby for 2 of those years. The accusations that are being made against the gymnasts and coaches are just sickening. I watched dena and Gustavo put so much of their time and effort into gabby and the other athletes, no matter their race. Gabby was never a victim, in fact many would say she was one of the favorites. I am not saying that she never felt bullied because when you are in a sport with a bunch of girls it is bond to happen. However, anything that she may have felt was never about race and I can assure you everyone at some point has felt bullied. I never once heard her complain about girls being mean, funny how it is just now coming up. Also, not only does she owe the gym thousands of dollars but she owes dena thousands as well. I watched dena open her home to gabby, feeding her, taking her to gym, and allowing her to stay over her house whenever gabby wanted to. You take people like dena and Gustavo, people that are selfless and put so much into helping these gymnasts reach their potential and you make them out to be evil and heartless. You should all be ashamed of yourselves. Unless you were there to witness these so called racial acts against gabby I suggest you take your comments elsewhere because you sound ignorant. Girls leave gyms all the time it is just part of being an athlete but there is absolutely no need to publicly bash people that have done nothing but support you and do the best they can to help you reach your dreams. I also trained with Morgan Evans, Marcia Newby, Britney Ranzy and Sheriese Clark all of which were on the national team and are African American. I can assure you they all have nothing but great things to say about their experience at Excalibur.
Gustavo Moure, President and CEO of Excalibur, had this to say:
From the bottom of my heart
We have, indeed, provided an environment where all our gymnasts can thrive. Gabby’s remarks were hurtful and without merit.
We’ve had more African Americans in elite and on the national team than any other gym in the country (5, 2 of them in Olympic Trials or Olympic Team Camp). Her African American former teammates will answer this serious accusation. (1st statement untruth, she was not the only African American gymnast training in the gym) We are good people. We never were knowingly involved in any type of bullying or racist treatment, like she is accusing Excalibur.
Do you know Gabby and her mother to know certainly how much you can trust them? Mrs. Hawkins expressed (in the media) different causes for Gabby to leave Excalibur during the last 2 years, the bullying/racial issue seems to be her latest attempt and making Excalibur look back. If Gabby was suffering from bullying, why didn’t Mrs. Hawkins ever mention it while Gabby was training here or complain after she left Excalibur? I wish to defend the children that trained with her and supported her when she attacks them with these allegations. Is Gabrielle a credible person just because she is an Olympic Champion? She is not giving any names or dates, leading us to believe that the accusation is fake. This wouldn’t be the first time that the media has made up a story.
For more comments, see the Excalibur Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ExcaliburGymnastics. What do you think about the whole situation?
*Update. Here’s Excalibur Gymnastics’ response on two local news channels: