A crying jag in a corner of the Olympic Arena turned into an outpouring of social media support when Leslie Jones jumped in to defend three-time Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas.
After winning team and all-around gold at the London Olympics, Gabby Douglas beat the odds and returned to a second Games—something no female all-around champion has done since Nadia Comaneci competed in the 1980 Olympics after becoming the all-around champion in 1976.
Douglas won another gold with the U.S. women in Rio, but didn't qualify for the all-around. She had the third best score in qualifications, but the two-per-country rule meant Simone Biles and Aly Raisman would advance and she would not.
She did qualify for the uneven bars final, where a small mistake left her off the podium.
After the uneven bars competition, Douglas faced questions from the media about the criticism she's faced on social media. Online, people have discussed whether she was disrespectful for not putting her hand over her heart during the national anthem, if she deserved her spot on the Olympic team, why she did not appear to give her Biles and Raisman a standing ovation during the all-around final.
After answering the questions that had nothing to do with her competitive performances, the Washington Post reported, she found a private, but not private enough, spot to cry.
Leslie Jones, who has also been a victim of online vitriol herself, learned that Douglas was "getting attacked" and rallied her followers to change the conversation.
Olympic fans and celebrities alike were quick to follow Jones' lead.
In the moments before she found herself in tears, Douglas described how she tried to stay strong when everything isn't golden. "For me, when you go through a lot, and you have so many difficulties, and people [are] against you sometimes," she told the Washington Post, "it kind of just determines your character. Are you going to stand, or are you going to crumble? In the face of everything, still stand. I have no regrets coming back for a second Olympics. It’s been an amazing experience, an amazing journey so far. And it’s teaching me a lot.”