RIO DE JANEIRO (NBC) — Wearing her second gymnastics team gold medal, Gabby Douglas stood at attention for the national anthem Tuesday night. But when she didn’t put her hand on her heart, the American gymnast prompted a dust-up on social media.
The 20-year-old member of the “Final Five,” as the world-beating gymnastics team named themselves, used both hands to hold a figurine of the Rio 2016 logo given out with medals. Some people on Twitter were offended by that, calling it disrespectful.
But Douglas, the reigning individual gold medal champion, issued a graceful response Wednesday, pivoting away from the controversy like she was performing a floor routine.
“In response to a few tweets I saw tonight, I always stand at attention out of respect for our country whenever the national anthem is played,” Douglas wrote. “I never meant any disrespect and apologize if I offended anyone.”
As The Washington Post pointed out, Navy veteran and basketball great David Robinson was seen without his hand on his heart on the podium at the 1992 Games, when he won the gold with the Dream Team.
And many more on Twitter were shocked that there was any controversy about the anthem at all.