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Fourth-Place Medal

Gabby Douglas gets a makeover, fueling more ridiculous debate about her hair

Jeff Eisenberg
Fourth-Place Medal

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Gabby Douglas during the Olympics (left) and post-makeover (right) (Getty Images)

Whether it was badminton teams losing matches on purpose, dubious refereeing in the fencing competition or North Korean soccer players taking the field under the wrong flag, the London Games featured plenty of controversy.

None of it is more frivolous or absurd, however, than the flap about how U.S. gymnast Gabby Douglas wears her hair.

Critics first complained that Douglas' ponytail looked unkempt when the 16-year-old was winning gold in both the women's team and all-around competitions. Now she's receiving backlash for bowing to public pressure and receiving a makeover from a celebrity stylist upon returning home from London.

Before she began a week-long publicity blitz that included appearances on the Tonight Show, The Late Show and America's Got Talent, Douglas hired New York-based stylist Ted Gibson to do her hair. Gibson, who works with Angelina Jolie and Anne Hathaway and also appears on the reality series What Not To Wear, gave Douglas a new look with a middle part and waves that fall just below her shoulders.

That Douglas has received criticism for getting a highly publicized makeover this week is almost as laughable as the response to her hairstyle during competition.

What elite athlete would be more concerned with her hair than her performance during the Olympics? And what 16-year-old girl wouldn't want to look her best before a week's worth of appearances on reality TV and the late-night talk show circuit? 

Douglas had it exactly right last week when she brushed off her critics by telling reporters she was more focused on winning Olympic gold than looking perfect during every routine. And she'll have it exactly right again this week if she explains she got a haircut to look her best on camera.

This is a 16-year-old girl who has handled Olympic pressure and media scrutiny with poise and grace so far. How about we stop paying so much attention to her hair and start giving her more credit for that?

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