20-year-old Gabby Douglas had hopes of reclaiming some of her former glory as the darling of the 2012 Olympics. She was hurt by all the taunting on social media about her hair and her sour attitude.
“It doesn’t really feel good. It was a little bit hurtful,” Douglas told reporters on Sunday.
“When they talk about my hair or me not putting my hand on my heart of me being very salty in the stands, they’re really criticizing me,” Douglas added.
But many observers had no sympathy for Douglas. She should not have been allowed to compete at the Rio Olympics in the first place.
There was a time, not too long ago, when Douglas, swimmer Michael Phelps, and other professionals would not have been allowed to compete in the Olympic games.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that NBC’s coverage of the Rio games suffered the worst TV ratings of the modern Olympic games.
There was a time when Douglas and Phelps would have been banned from returning to compete with amateurs who don’t have the benefit of millions of dollars in sponsorships.
I’m old enough to remember when the Olympics was only for amateurs. We loved rooting for young athletes like Sugar Ray Leonard who won gold in the 1976 Olympics before turning pro.
He wasn’t allowed to return to box with amateurs in the 1980 Olympic games after he went pro.
As CNN noted, “The Olympics were supposed to be about love of sport, not love of money.”
In fact, the Olympics went downhill after professionals were allowed to shove aside amateur athletes and take their spots to stroke their egos.
Take for example Michael Phelps, who won 23 gold medals in 4 Olympic games.
How many gold medals does he need?
Think of the deserving amateur athletes who worked hard for a spot on the U.S. swim team, only to lose their spot to Phelps. How selfish of him.
It was bittersweet irony when Phelps lost the Men’s 100m butterfly to Singapore’s Joseph Schooling, who was only 13 when he met his idol.
Many agree that the Olympics should return to banning professionals from competition.
This would eliminate egotists like Phelps from winning gold medals that should go to youngsters from the inner cities of America and third world countries.
“The Olympics should be all amateur athletes,” said Cy Thompson, a pro golfer from Oxford, “it is a little disappointing that all of the world’s best are not going to be there.”
Randy Hodsdon, director of rules and competitions for the Maine State Golf Association, added: “The Olympic Games are not pro sports… “I’m not for pros in basketball — not in golf or whatever sport. In the end, I’m not really for it.”
I’m not either, Randy.