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  • Gold medal winner did not place hand on heart during anthem
  • Gymnast was part of victorious women’s team at Olympics

US gymnastics gold medalist Gabby Douglas was forced to apologize on Wednesday in response to a flurry of criticism over the fact she did not place her hand over her heart during the American national anthem.

After the US gymnasts won the all-around competition on Tuesday they gathered later for the medal ceremony and the playing of the Star Spangled Banner. They turned sideways on the platform to face the flag and as they did so, four of the five placed their hands on their hearts. Douglas did not. This led to mountains of criticism from people who perceived her failure to do so as unpatriotic.

On Wednesday, Douglas put out a tweet that said in part: “I always stand at attention out of respect for our country whenever the national anthem is played. I never meant any disrespect and apologize if I offended anyone. I’m so overwhelmed at what our team accomplished today and overjoyed that we were able to bring home another gold for our country!”

Not all US Olympians place their hands on their hearts during the anthem. In Douglas’s case, she stood out because her four team-mates did so.

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