PUBLISHED: 15:14 EST, 2 August 2012 | UPDATED: 01:37 EST, 8 August 2012
Natalie Hawkins, the gymnastics star’s mother, said Missy Parton and her family from Iowa don’t know how to care for her daughter’s hair
The mother said there are ‘no black salons in their area’
The 16-year-old double gold medal winner became the topic of debate on Twitter last week as critics argued that her ponytail looked messy
The mother of women’s gymnastics all-around champion Gabrielle Douglas has blamed her daughter’s white host family for failing to correctly care for her hair.
Natalie Hawkins, the 16-year-old Flying Squirrel’s proud mother who does not live with her daughter, told Fashionista.com that Missy Parton and her family from Iowa ‘don’t know anything about taking care of her hair’.
Miss Douglas moved to their home in order to train with the elite gymnastics coach Liang Chow. It was a move fully supported by Ms Hawkins.
She added: ‘She [Gabby] lives with a white host family… and there’s no black salons in their area [Iowa – not one. We had to work really hard to find a stylist to come and do her hair.’
Pointing fingers: The mother of U.S. gymnast Gabrielle Douglas, who won her second gold medal last week, has claimed that her host family, including mother Missy Parton, have failed to care for the teenager’s hair, above
Support: Gabby’s mother (centre) claimed that her host mother (left) knows ‘nothing about her hair’. They witnessed the 16-year-old’s gold medal win alongside 2008 Olympic gymnastics medalist Shawn Johnson
The teenager said two days ago that she was a little confused when she logged onto her computer after winning her second gold medal in three days to discover that people were debating her pulled-back look.
Miss Douglas uses gel, clips and a ponytail holder to keep things in place while she competes, a style she’s worn for years.
Her mother, who allegedly filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, also touched on her daughter’s hair regime which she claims she is still very much apart of.
‘She gets relaxer but we try not to relax it too much,’ she said. ‘It’s really been African-American women that have come out and attacked her. They don’t know about gymnastics. She has to keep her hair in a ponytail 28-30 hours a week,’
Trouble: It seems as though a week of high drama has taken its toll on the Flying Squirrel who fell during a performance on the women’s gymnastics balance beam today at the Olympics, seen above
Winner: The teenager, above, became the fourth straight American to win gymnastics’ biggest prize
Support: Miss Douglas’ mother, above, does not live with her daughter but has been a major supporter
She continued: ‘In gymnastics, you’re tumbling around on your hair… any hair stylist will tell you that foam on African-American hair is destructible. It breaks the hair horribly.’
She added said people began offering their opinions on her daughter’s hair months ago.
‘I started hearing about [her hair] earlier this year actually,’ she said. ‘What is funny is I had someone come do her hair before the Olympics. We put all this effort into getting her hair done and they still didn’t like it.’
She, like many others, are confused over what people don’t like about her hair, exactly.
‘She didn’t have flyaways,’ she said. ‘When you look at pictures, it’s tight back just like everyone else’s and all of the girls had the messy ponytails which is just their generation.
‘Most of the women who were commenting I think are a little bit older’.
Ms Hawkins filed for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, according to documents submitted earlier this year in Virginia, reported TMZ.
The documents show that Hawkins, who has previously spoken out about gymnastics being an expensive sport, has debt totalling $79,754.14.
Tousled: Critics believe Miss Douglas, above, should have had her hair put up in a neat ballerina-esque bun
The documents state that Hawkins has assets totalling $163,706.10 and show she owes Capital One, Sprint, and T-Mobile more than $6,000. Her creditors also include an Orthodontist in Iowa, where Gabby trained aged 14, and a student loan of $4,350.23.
Regardless of the financial woes, the mother recalled laughing with the sporting star, who lives with a white host family, when she discovered that people had been discussing her hair.
‘She said,”Really? I won two gold medals and made history and my hair is trending?”,’ the mother told the fashion news site. ‘So we laughed about it. We made a huge joke out of it and I was quick to try to diffuse that situation.’
She continued: ‘Are you trying to ruin her self confidence? She has to go out there and feel good about herself, and if she feels good about herself on that floor, who are you to criticize her?’ What have you done to help contribute to her dream, that you felt it necessary to put it out there so that she could see it.’
The young athlete told the Associated Press that she only discovered the debate after checking online after she had won her second gold medal.
‘I don’t know where this is coming from. What’s wrong with my hair?’ said Douglas, the first U.S. gymnast to win gold in team and all-around competition. ‘I’m like, “I just made history and people are focused on my hair?” It can be bald or short, it doesn’t matter about [my] hair.’
‘Nothing is going to change,’ she said. ‘I’m going to wear my hair like this during beam and bar finals. You might as well just stop talking about it.’
Not a fan: One user, above, took to the social networking site to announce his disapproval over her hair
Critic: Another Twitter user, above, stated that fixing the teenager’s hair would prove an Olympic sport itself
Critics have argued that her dark locks should in fact mimic the tight, ballerina-style bun that gymnasts usually tuck their hair into.
‘I don’t think people should be worried about that,’ she said. ‘We’re all champions and we’re all winners. I just say that it’s kind of, a stupid and crazy thought to think about my hair.’
The bubbly teenager was the first African-American gymnast to win her sport’s biggest prize. She had no idea she was lighting up social media until she Googled herself hours after winning her gold medal.
In the Flying Squirrel’s defense, her hair had been kept securely in place with ample gel and hair clips as she has leaped and twirled her way to glory.
One user wrote on Twitter: ‘Gabby Douglas gotta [sic] do something with this hair! These clips and this brown gel residue aint it!’.
Another posted: ‘In Olympic news, why hasn’t anyone tried to fix Gabby Douglas’ hair?’.
Support: Other users have defended the young athlete, as shown above. They believe the topic is nonsense
Defense: Another user, above, expressed expressed that critics should watch what they say
To which a further user replied: ‘That’s an Olympic sport too!’.
The teenage superstar was also defended on Twitter by her supporters.
One user wrote: ‘People busy talking about Gabby Douglas not having her hair done?? She’s busy sweating & WINNING GOLD MEDALS… you’re on TWITTER. Right’.
Another person wrote: ‘If you want to ride Gabby Douglas for her hair, you should be open to her coming over to critique your muscle tone’.
A further user wrote: ‘Gaby [sic] Douglas may not have her hair done, but she accomplished something more than half of us didn’t. Focus’.
Peculiarly, Miss Douglas’ hair is possibly the neatest out of her whole team leading many to wonder what all the fuss is about.
Her teammates, Jordyn Wieber, McKayla Maroney, Alexandra Raisman and Kyla Ross, have each been spotted with unruly strands of hair poking out of their buns and ponytails.
Hard work: Disappointingly, the teenager came last in today’s uneven bars competition, seen above
It may be Miss Douglas’ incredible talents that have put her into the firing line as she outshines the rest of the competition.
For whatever reason, it is not the first time the styling of black hair has come under debate.
Solange Knowles was forced to defend her natural afro, which she wears proudly, after it was slammed by critics who called it ‘unkempt’ and ‘dry as heck’.
One even compared her natural locks to those of a homeless person.
Miss Douglas finished last week with a score of 62.232, less than three-tenths ahead of Viktoria Komova of Russia, to win claim the all-rounder title.
While her U.S. teammates hopped up and down in the stands, Miss Douglas simply grinned. Up in the stands, her mother hugged her children and Missy Parton, whose family Miss Douglas lives with in West Des Moines, Iowa.