High School Sports

Gulfport’s Brittney Reese has a message for her haters after online attacks

United States' gold medal winner Brittney Reese makes an attempt in the women's long jump final during the World Athletics Championships in London Friday, Aug. 11, 2017.
United States' gold medal winner Brittney Reese makes an attempt in the women's long jump final during the World Athletics Championships in London Friday, Aug. 11, 2017. AP

Brittney Reese re-claimed gold at the IAAF World Championship in London last weekend, but instead of being able to enjoy it, the Gulfport native has been forced to deal with a fan firestorm.

The world-class long jumper is active on social media and as we all know, Twitter and Facebook can sometimes be a dangerous place.

On Tuesday, Reese posted several screen grabs to her Facebook page of comments she received after winning gold.

Some messages accused Reese of cheating. Others merely resorted to name calling. Most aren’t appropriate to repeat.

Never one to back down, Reese fired back at her “haters.”

“This is what I have been dealing with since Friday... Throughout the day I am constantly blocking people from my Twitter, Instagram and Facebook .... I am a strong black woman so you got to come better than this to break me,” she posted. ... Little do these people know they are adding fuel to the fire (four fire emojis) and the next couple of years they really not going to like me !!!!!!!!”

The backlash apparently stems from how the former Ole Miss Rebel and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Bulldog claimed gold.

Reese only landed two jumps but held the top distance of 7.02 meters going into the final round. It appeared Serbia’s Ivana Spanovic may have bested the 30-year-old Coast native, but the number bib competitors wear on their back appeared to touch the sand at 6.91 meters.

In an interview posted to YouTube.com, Spanovic said, “This is not the first time that I have had a problem with the bib. Wherever I put it, it always make a problem so I don’t know how to change that. What can I do with bib? We will see.”

Serbia appealed the result but was rejected.

As for Reese, she’s taking the high road.

Reese had a Twitter conversation with fellow U.S. athlete Tianna T. Bartoletta, where the two discussed fan reaction and Spanovic.

“I was getting called some pretty horrible names but I’ve spoken to @IvanaSpaNOv1c and these people don’t reflect her heart. I’m sure of it,” tweeted Bartoletta.

Reese replied, “I spoke with her also... It’s all good !!”

Reese competed in London with a heavy heart as she dedicated her gold to her grandfather, who died last month.

After the competition, Reese reversed her bib to show a message to the cameras: “Believe in yourself. Paw Paw #9”

“I was doing this for him and I know he would have been cheering for me,” Reese told Reuters. “I’m a stronger person than I probably think I am. It has shown me mentally at my best.

“I’ll be continuing to Tokyo 2020. I’m not done yet, I can assure you.”

The gold in London marked Reese’s seventh world championship. A two-time NCAA champion has captured 10 U.S. long jump titles in her career. A three-time Olympian, Reese claimed a gold medal in 2012 and a silver at last year’s Olympics.

Patrick Ochs: 228-896-2321, @PatrickOchs

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