AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky


There's no rule mandating that athletes place their hands over their hearts when the national anthem plays, even at an Olympics.

Gabby Douglas didn't when "The Star-Spangled Banner" played after the U.S. women's gymnastics team blew away the competition and rolled to team gold in the Olympic finals on Tuesday. Instead, her arms were at her sides.

And predictably, Twitter was mad.





"Yeah, no, I always stand with my hands like this," she said after the medal ceremony.

Douglas quickly learned about some of the criticism, and quickly tweeted out a statement insisting that she meant no disrespect.

"I always stand at attention out of respect for our country whenever the national anthem is played," Douglas wrote on Twitter. "I never meant any disrespect and apologize if I offended anyone."
She did, however, have her hand over her heart during the medal ceremony for team finals at the London Olympics in 2012.

Douglas is far from the first American to hear critics over hand placement during the anthem.

In 2007, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama was irritated about a photo that was distributed on the web suggesting that he didn't have his hand over his heart during the reciting of a Pledge of Allegiance.

Obama said the photo was actually taken during the singing of the national anthem.

"My grandfather taught me how to say the Pledge of Allegiance when I was 2," Obama said at the time. "During the Pledge of Allegiance you put your hand over your heart. During the national anthem you sing."