Gabby Douglas calls cybercriticism ‘hurtful’

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DENVER -- Twenty-year-old competitor Gabby Douglas is no stranger to the Olympics. She successfully competed in the 2012 Olympic games in London, winning gold in gymnastics for Team USA.

But this time around, she found herself battling not only fellow competitors on the mat, but social media critics online.

Criticisms rang from not placing her hand over her heart to not supporting fellow teammates, to even the style of her hair.

"Harassment is never fair game, but celebrities have always been considered different people," said Metropolitan State University of Denver marketing professor Darren Duber-Smith.

He said thanks to social media, almost everybody is fair game. Duber-Smith calles it "zeitgist," a German word for the spirit of the times.

So, is today's computer the bully's best friend?

Duber-Smith doesn't like the word cyberbully but does offer an explanation.

"We've become a rather impolite and course society of late so there's not a lot of sportsmanship going on and they're is a lot of trash talking," he said.

Trash talking is as old as, well, talking, and one Olympic fan said, "[Douglas] is on the phone, so get off the phone a little bit, you know?"

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