Warm up. The crowd roars. Other competitors are on and you try to drown them out. You walk on to the mat for your first pass on your floor routine. Round off, back handspring, tuck, land, and finish.
And don’t forget to primp and style your hair?
This is the ongoing debate in blogland and twitterverse. Gabby Douglas is the first African-American to win an Individual All-Around Gold Medal at the Olympics and our focus is… hair? Don’t get me wrong. I love hair! But in case you didn’t notice, gymnastics takes a lot of perseverance and focus. Gymnasts must be able to drown out the roar of the crowd, the score on the board, and make sure that there are no distractions to divert their focus. And one of those distractions is hair. Just like her teammates, Gabby pulled back her hair, tucked it under, and clipped her sides to ensure that her hair did not fall out of place. For extra insurance, she utilized gel. [Gasp.]
Although her hair was not perfect by the naysayers’ standards of beauty, it was perfect for the Olympic standard of performance. Gabby’s Gold trumps the latest hairstyle of the week. Too often, African-American women make beauty choices that sacrifice their health. It has been a long debate whether hair is the reason why black women don’t exercise enough. And although I don’t think it is the main factor, it definitely plays a part. To exercise with black hair means, pulling your hair taut and wearing a wrap. Then waiting until your hair is dry to unwrap. It may not be cute while you are in the gym, but you will still look great afterwards. But then again, your hair should not be your focus in the gym. It is a distraction from the task at hand. And now we have let hair distract us from Gabby’s accomplishment.
At 16, Gabby has achieved more than many will achieve in a lifetime. And she has done so with such poise and grace. Gabby’s Gold trumps it all.
Congratulations Gabby! We here at BHM love you!