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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT

Hate Group Ties to Massacre; Pride of America

Aired August 6, 2012 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight, faith under fire. America's latest shooting spree. Is it a hate crime?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An action to take like this has to be -- it has to be some form of hate.

MORGAN: Just what do we know about Wade Michael Page? I'll talk to a man who's digging into his disturbing past. And my exclusive with a man who served with him in the military.

Plus, Deepak Chopra who says there's no place for guns in a civil society.

DEEPAK CHOPRA: Gun control is a very necessary thing.

MORGAN: In London the golden girls. America's reigning queen of the pool, Missy Franklin.

MISSY FRANKLIN, OLYMPIC SWIMMER: Everyone is, like, are you on cloud nine? I'm like, I'm on cloud like 687th.

MORGAN: And my primetime exclusive with super star Serena Williams. Her medals --

SERENE WILLIAMS, TENNIS CHAMPION: I love gold, it's my favorite color.

MORGAN: And the Olympian who inspired her.

WILLIAMS: What an honor to be at the same Olympic games as this guy.

MORGAN: Plus the two women behind gymnastics champ Gabby Douglas.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She gave me an ultimately actually. She said, either I can find a new coach or I want to give up doing the sport.

MORGAN: Or finding a new mother.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And that, too.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.

Good evening from London. We'll get to my interviews with Olympians Missy Franklin and Serena Williams later in the show. But we begin tonight with our big story. The latest from a deadly rampage at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin yesterday that killed six people and wounded four others.

Law enforcement officers say Wade Michael Page, an army veteran, was a lone gunman in the rampage. He was shot to death by police. Neighbors say that Page played in a far-right punk band and an old army buddy of Page's today talked about what he called racial holy war when they served together in the '90s. I'll talk to him exclusively in a few minutes.

Joining me now is Dr. Manminder Singh Sethi. He went to the temple at Oak Creek every day. He was on his way there when the shootings took place on Sunday.

Dr. Sethi, thank you very much for joining me. You knew a number of the people who lost their lives. Tell me about them.

DR. MANMINDER SINGH SETHI, MEMBER OF THE SIKH TEMPLE OF WISCONSIN: Yes, one of my favorite guys in the temple was (INAUDIBLE) Singh, and he was in his late 30s. And I need to tell you, he just brought his family back from India. And he spent a lot of time here for his visa and all he's have to, you know, come good and for four or five years, he was all alone. And it was just two months he brought his family back.

MORGAN: It's an atrocity beyond comprehension. When you first realized what had happened, and then you discovered it was a man believed to be a white supremacist, what was your reaction to that? Have the Sikh community been fearing an attack of this nature? Do you -- have you felt like you've been vulnerable?

SETHI: Yes, I think my first reaction was, to be honest with you, I could guess, you know, it was a case of mistaken identity. But later on what I felt was, you know, maybe we as a community has not been able to, you know, explain to people what we are. Had that guy had an -- just an iota of thought about Sikh religion or little speck of what Sikh beliefs are, I think he would not have even thought of harming us, you know, because we believe in universal brotherhood. We don't believe in -- we don't have any conflict against any nation. We don't have any conflict against any cast or religion.

I think we as Sikhs probably our leadership might have failed somewhere with the public relations. We have not been able to explain what we are. What we did for the humanity. What we do for the humanity. Had that guy knew that, I think he would not have gone to that extent. At least coming to the Sikh Temple. And hitting us with what he thought was appropriate.

But, again, I'm so saddened that we have been targeted because of our looks and vulnerabilities. Because we wear turbans, we have long beards. But I think so we as a community has to have I think at some point in time not being able to explain what we are. MORGAN: Dr. Sethi, I want to read you a statement. It's come via the Milwaukee, Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, and it was one of their reporters received a text message from the shooter's family. I want to read you this and get your reaction. It says, "As a family of Wade Page, we are devastated by the horrific events that occurred Sunday in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. While there can be words of comfort that will make sense of what happened that day, please be aware that our thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims and their families. We share in their grief all who lost their lives and for those survivors. We hope for a speedy recovery. We've been cooperating and will continue to cooperate with the investigation in any way we can. Please respect our privacy as we try and deal with the tragic loss of life and family."

What is your reaction to that statement from the family of the man that committed this terrible atrocity?

SETHI: Yes. As a Sikh, as a member of, you know, I would call a big Sikh community, the world, I strongly believed, you know, a life lost is a life lost. Even I feel so saddened about the life lost by the guy who assaulted and came and killed other people. And still it is hard for the family. My heart goes out for the family, too. I think they are also one of the victims, you know. That's what I think about it.

And we -- because we prayed -- all the time we pray in our prayers that we always call for well being of the whole humanity. And I -- my heart goes out. And I really appreciate that the family feels so, you know, concerned and they feel they have some kind of remorse or whatever on his behalf. I think it is a great act, it is great act of courage to admit and to be part of the whole scenario rather than being the family of the victim or the family of the assault.

A man who has died has died. That's a lot of life. Whether it was a Sikh or whether it was assault, or you know -- we, in our culture, in our history, we have treated both our friends and foes as one (INAUDIBLE), you know. And I think we Sikh even treated the -- you know, prisoners of war and guys injured in the wars with us, we treat the same way as we treat our own people. And I appreciate that those guys also realize, you know, and I have been talking good about and praying for all the lives lost.

MORGAN: Dr. Sethi, again, my condolences to you and to your fellow Sikhs, and the community there, it's an awful day for you and for America. And I appreciate you taking the time to join me.

SETHI: Thank you.

MORGAN: And now more on our big story is Mark Potok. He's a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center. He's been investigated in the part of Wade Michael Page. Membership in two racist skin headbands. And Mr. Potok joins me now.

What have you learned about this man in the years that you've been tracking him? MARK POTOK, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: Well, basically, he is a guy who describes leaving his home state of Colorado with all his belongings packed on to a motorcycle in the year 2000. And at that point, he goes directly into the white power music scene out there. He starts to play with racist rock and roll bands around the country. He played with several very well-known bands. Bands like Intimidation One and Blue Eyed Devils, as a lead guitarist and vocalist.

And ultimately in 2005 Page started his own band which he called -- I think significantly -- End Apathy. He gave an interview several years ago to a particular white supremacist Web site in which he talked about the name of the band. And basically explained it as a message to his colleagues, his fellows in the white supremacist world, essentially saying, "We've got to act now ."

He really didn't go into any detail. He didn't talk explicitly about violence or hating Muslims or Sikhs or anything like that but it seemed very clear that he was itching for action.

MORGAN: Do you believe that this kind of extremism, the white supremacy, but also other forms of extremism, is that on the increase in America, do you believe?

POTOK: I think there's no question about it at all. One of the things we do at the Southern Poverty Law Center is count the number of groups on the extreme right. And we have had just explosive growth. In particular, militia-type groups. Groups we used to call militias back in the 1990s. And this expansion, this amazing expansion, came immediately after the election of Barack Obama.

So I think what is really going on out there is there are an awful lot of people in this country who have heard about the loss of white majority. The Census Bureau have said that whites will lose their majority in this country by the year 2050. And who feel incredibly enough that white people in America are being subjected to a genocide.

You know so that is essentially where they're coming from. You know, and that has driven many of these groups out of their minds.

MORGAN: And, finally, I mean do you believe this shooter knew that these were Sikhs or did he believe they may be Muslims? Did he care? Was it a fact they were just nonwhites? I mean what do you imagine may have been given what you know about his background, his motivation here?

POTOK: My best guess is that he's a fool. That he mistook Sikhs for Muslims and thought he was murdering Muslims. I say that really for one reason, when you look into the propaganda of the white supremacist world, as we really do every day, you virtually never see writings or rantings about the evil of Sikh people. And of course the radical right is absolutely thick with propaganda about Muslims imposing Sharia law in this country.

Muslim Brotherhood infiltrating our government, and on and on. So I feel pretty certain that this man mistook Sikhs for Muslims, although it's certainly true that these kind of white supremacists view all people of color, or as they would say, mud people, as enemies.

MORGAN: Mark Potok, fascinating conversation. Thank you very much indeed.

And joining me now exclusively is a man who served with Wade Michael Page in the military and says he was his closest friend, Chris Robillard.

Mr. Robillard, thank you joining me. What is your recollection of the kind of man that Wade Michael Page was?

CHRIS ROBILLARD, FORMER FRIEND OF WADE MICHAEL PAGE: As I recall he was a bright, intelligent, and very kind individual. I had him over to my house with my family to eat dinner several times. And we ate dinner with him several times. We're all part of a really close- knit group of friends.

MORGAN: Right. You served with him between 1995 and 1998. In the Alpha Company of the 9th Cyclops Battalion. You knew him for five years, until 2000, when you lost contact. Most intriguingly, I understand that he used to talk openly to you about race, about a racial holy war. Tell me about that.

ROBILLARD: Yes, sir. Not just to me, to a lot of the people in our group of friends. He would often mention the racial holy war that was coming. And you know, we just looked at it as he was trying to get attention to himself. Because he was always the loner type of person. Even in a group of people, he would be off alone.

MORGAN: Right, but do you believe that he was serious in his belief, there needed to be some kind of holy war against, you know, presumably Muslims? Is that what he was targeting? Sikhs? I mean, who were the targets of this holy war as far as he was concerned?

ROBILLARD: Back then, as far as he was concerned, it was just anybody that wasn't white. I really didn't become concerned until his 2000 motorcycle trip. He told me that he was going across country to visit old friends that, you know, he had lost touch with, and I happened to be one of those. I was living in Arkansas at the time. And he stopped to visit me for about a week.

And I've noticed then that he had gone through a dramatic change. And did -- his talk about the racist war was even -- you know, it was more like he really did believe it. And after he left, that was the last time I talked to him. I can't say that I wouldn't have seen this coming because honestly a couple of weeks ago, I was thinking of him.

And, you know, just to see how he's been doing over the years and when I couldn't find any contact information, I did start looking for news articles, you know, that something like this might have happened somewhere, and I had missed, you know, didn't hear about it.

MORGAN: You, as I say, served in the military with him. He was thrown out of the military for misconduct. Do you know what the details of that misconduct were?

ROBILLARD: Basically, it was just -- he had gotten drunk the night before and showed up at morning formation intoxicated, and that just started the ball rolling to get him moved out of the military.

MORGAN: Do you -- do you think that he -- from what you know of him or knew of him, do you think that he would have known the difference between a Muslim and a Sikh? Would he have tried to distinguish between the two groups?

ROBILLARD: Honestly, I don't think he would have tried to distinguish. Like I said, the last time I talked to him, it was all just -- it was anybody that wasn't white.

MORGAN: And the last time, as you say, you saw him and you were more concerned about the escalation and the way he was talking. Did you come away from that encounter thinking that he was now dangerous and that this was not just talk?

ROBILLARD: No, I knew that it wasn't just talk, that he had fallen deeper into whatever group he had gotten himself mixed up with. Because he didn't have the tattoos when he was in the Army. But after Denver, he had traveled from Denver to Arkansas to visit me on his motorcycle. And I think this is the same trip that the guy from the Southern Poverty group was talking about.

And then when he showed up, he had all the tattoos. He had talked about he was in a racist band. And that he was going to meet up with them in Florida to do some big racist concert. And so I knew he was into the music part. But I -- even after he left, I didn't think that he would be violent.

MORGAN: Well, it sadly didn't turn out that way. But Mr. Robillard, thank you very much for joining me. I appreciate it.

ROBILLARD: Thank you, sir.

MORGAN: When we come back, a man who says guns do not belong in a civil society. Deepak Chopra.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These kinds of terrible tragic events are happening with too much regularity for us not to do some soul searching and to examine additional ways that we can reduce violence. What I want to do is to bring together law enforcement, community leaders, faith leaders, elected officials at every level, to see how we can make continued progress.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: That's President Obama earlier today.

Here now with more on our big stories, Deepak Chopra. He comes from a Sikh family. Says he's grieving with everyone else affected by the shooting and he says guns do not belong in a civil society. He says his book "Spiritual Solutions", and Deepak Chopra joins me now.

Deepak, thank you for joining me again. It's a -- it's a harrowing story this, coming so soon after the Aurora massacre. You've very outspoken on your Twitter feed today about this and attracted a lot of flack I've seen from people who feel passionately that right to bear arms means you cannot even debate this. What is the practical thing that can be done now?

DEEPAK CHOPRA, AUTHOR, "SPIRITUAL SEDUCTION": Piers, what is really interesting is that my comment that guns don't belong in the civil society generated so much hostility, anger, rage, ethnocentrism, bigotry, prejudice, and racism. And these people are the very people who should not be owning guns. The fact that they can get enraged at a comment like that is a sign that something very drastically wrong with our culture, which is going through a major shift right now, with new immigrants coming from all over the world.

A global identity for our next generation. You know, I have a grandson who speaks five languages because his mother is Chinese and his father is Indian and his nanny's Spanish. And this is very threatening to a society which was born in the throes of violence. The second amendment is actually goes back to when militia were relevant for a free state. And therefore the right to bear arms. It has no relevance right now. Gun control is a very necessary thing.

MORGAN: Yes, I mean, but my whole argument about this, ever since the Aurora massacre, That since Gabby Giffords, the congresswoman were shot as well, is not that you can guarantee you can stop massacres. We saw it once in Norway. We've had them in Britain. We've had seen them in Germany, in Australia. But in those countries, there are so few gun murders outside of those massacres.

What distinguishes America adversely? Is there so many gun murders as a matter of routine every day, every week, every month, every year?

CHOPRA: Exactly. And for every 100 people in the United States, we have 88 guns. The next closest country is Yemen, with 55 guns per 100 people. You should ask, why do we need so many guns? Why can we get assault weapons without having to have a license? Why do we need assault weapons that can fire 100 rounds at a time for hunting or self-protection? When is the last time a gun was used for defense?

How many -- how many incidents are there where gun assailants have been thwarted by a gun for self-defense? So we have to question who we are at this moment. And our political system has to be a little more honest.

I heard the comments of President Obama. I think President Obama offers hope, stability, trust and compassion. But he needs to take a stand on gun control. You know, it's very important right now to be more in the interest of our collective safety and our collective caring for each other and politics needs to come second to that. MORGAN: There just has to be something in our system in America which means if you're a skinhead white supremacist thrown out of the military for misconduct and you are in a band which advocates violence and racial hatred and all the rest of it, there's got to be something that flags you up when you go and buy a gun legally.

My previous guest believes that it was probably just as mindless as he assumes they were Muslims, this shooter. Do you believe that or do you believe the Sikh community --

CHOPRA: I think so. I --

MORGAN: -- fears that maybe it was deliberately targeted at the Sikh community?

CHOPRA: He probably assumed that anyone with a beard or a turban is probably from the Taliban. That's also part of the ignorance of a very ethnocentric culture that is totally unaware of what's happening in the rest of the world. So I think people get stereotyped very easily. And in this case, it was the beard and the turbans of the Sikhs who had -- probably who were not targeted especially.

My family comes from a Sikh family. And none of us believe that they were targeted because they were Sikhs. It was confusion I think.

MORGAN: Well, it's an appalling day for the Sikh community, for all of those who know relatives that were involved.

And Deepak, I thank you for joining me, I really do. Thank you.

CHOPRA: Thanks, Piers. Thank you, Piers.

MORGAN: Coming next, I'll talk to an Olympic athlete who dedicated her races to the victims of the Aurora, Colorado, shooting. Missy Franklin.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Seventeen-year-old swimming sensation Missy Franklin won four gold medals and a bronze here in London. Truly has the heart of a champion. She proved that when she dedicated all of her races to the people of her home state of Colorado in the wake of the Aurora shooting last month, and Missy Franklin joins me now.

Missy, welcome.

FRANKLIN: Yes. Thank you so much for having me.

MORGAN: We're going to get to your amazing successes in London which had been enthralling the whole of America and the world. I want to start. We've just been talking about this new shooting in America. And you come effectively from Aurora. I mean you were brought up very near there. You trained there and everything else.

What was your reaction when that happened to someone so close to you? FRANKLIN: Just complete shock. I mean you hear something like that and it just baffles you on why something like that happens. And it was so senseless. And I was in France at the time. And so the time zone, I was a few hours ahead so a lot of my friends and family were still sleeping. They weren't even up yet. So just having those hours of waiting to hear if everyone was OK was just absolutely awful.

MORGAN: You said that you were going to put your focus on the Olympics and hopefully do my best so I can shine some light on Colorado and make them proud. I think you've definitely done that.

FRANKLIN: Thank you.

MORGAN: You must feel great having said that. You're right to do so well.

FRANKLIN: Thank you. I've gotten the most supportive messages and Tweets from everyone back home, just saying that I've been able to do that. That means more to me than I can say.

MORGAN: Four golds and a bronze.

FRANKLIN: I know. It honestly doesn't even feel real.

MORGAN: What are you, 17?

FRANKLIN: Yes.

MORGAN: You've won five medals, including four golds, at one Olympics.

FRANKLIN: Yes.

MORGAN: It must feels slightly surreal, doesn't it?

FRANKLIN: Oh my gosh, without a doubt. Everyone is like are you on cloud nine? I'm on cloud like 687. Like I don't even know what to think right now. I'm just trying to like fathom everything. It's weird because when you win a medal, you actually get to hold your dream in your hands, which is just -- I mean, nothing can describe that feeling. It's so unbelievable.

MORGAN: Now I had Ryan Lochte here on Friday, the most eligible bachelor in the world.

FRANKLIN: Of course.

MORGAN: If you ask him. Michael Phelps I've interviewed too. They're great guys. They've been setting the whole competition alight on the men's side. Do you all hang out together? Are you all buddies?

FRANKLIN: Absolutely. Our team this year was incredible. We were all so close knit. I have never been a part of a closer team. We're honestly like a family. Even though Michael and Ryan had the big rivalry, when they're outside of the pool, they're just joking and messing around like all the other guys.

MORGAN: I asked Ryan if you could take one woman to a desert island for the rest of his life, who would it be, and he said Blake Lively. My question for you is you could go to a desert island with one of two men, Ryan Lochte or Michael Phelps, for the rest of your life, who would it be?

FRANKLIN: Oh, my gosh. I have to pick -- oh.

MORGAN: Or, let's widen it. I think I know where you may go now. If I threw Justin Bieber into the mix --

FRANKLIN: I knew that was coming. You know, Justin's a little more age appropriate. So I would probably go with Justin.

MORGAN: You've got some big choices to make now about your life and career and such. You're going to stay amateur for now.

FRANKLIN: Yes.

MORGAN: Which is I guess surprising. You're turning down potentially a lot of money, millions and millions of dollars. Why have you done that?

FRANKLIN: Because I am all about the team. I love being a part of something that I believe is bigger than myself. And being on this team and being on my high school team have showed me how much it means to be not only swimming for yourself but have so much support around you and just have a second family. Watching college competitions and seeing college teams at swim meets, I can see that being multiplied in college. I have so many great friends who swim in college who love it more than anything.

MORGAN: Now you're off to college. Where are you going?

FRANKLIN: I have no idea yet. I'm starting to take my recruiting visits this fall, which I cannot wait for. But it's totally up in the air right now.

MORGAN: Harvard?

FRANKLIN: Probably not. I am looking more at Cal, Georgia, USC and maybe Texas. Those are my kind of short list.

MORGAN: Tell me this, because I've never going to be in that position -- that moment when you won the first gold here, you come out of the water and you know you've won. Describe that moment.

MORGAN: It's impossible to describe. It's absolutely incredible. Just knowing that everything you've done has been worth it, just every early morning wake-up call, jumping in the water at 5:00 a.m., being freezing, just every experience you've ever gone through just kind of led up to that moment. It was just unbelievable.

I saw a video of my parents and they were hugging, crying. That got me so emotional, knowing that I didn't really just do it for me but I did it for them too and everything that they've helped me do.

MORGAN: Look, the whole of America is absolutely buzzing with pride for you. In fact, we are in Britain as well. The whole world has gone Missy crazy.

FRANKLIN: Thank you.

MORGAN: Congratulations.

FRANKLIN: Thank you so much.

MORGAN: It's been a pleasure to meet you.

FRANKLIN: It's been a pleasure to meet you also.

MORGAN: Now to the other big news in London, the world's fastest man, Usain Bolt, winning the Olympic 100 meters for the second time. Marian Jones knows a bit about that race. She won the women's 100 meters at Sydney in 2000, then fell from grace and lost her medals after she admitted to using performance enhancing drugs.

Marion Jones joins me now. Marion, what a race. What a run from Usain Bolt.

MARION JONES, FORMER OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: Absolutely. I predicted it right, didn't I, Piers? It was just -- it was incredible to watch. I think it was a bit surprising that it was as close as it was, which I think made it even more exciting. But it's pretty phenomenal. Only the second man in the history of the Olympics to double.

And it was just a wonderful race. But great for the Americans. And Justin Gatlin, who I'm personally pulling for, has obviously had some challenges in the past few years, but, you know, has benefited from his second chance and made the most of it. But this just tells you that today's semifinal runs of the 200 meters, and of course tomorrow in the finals of the 200 meters are going to be even more spectacular.

MORGAN: Well, what is it about Usain Bolt, do you think, that makes him so extraordinarily? Apparently he even had a McDonald's before running in the final last night.

JONES: I think so many people are just fascinated by this guy, beyond the fact that he's just lightning quick, no pun intended with the lightning bolt joke. But just the fact there's so much more that he brings to the sport, right? He brings that bravado. He brings that swag that people like to see. It's not just like this boring one dimensional type athlete. You know he's going to give you a smile. He's going to give you a blink of the eye, something to get your energy going prior to the race.

I think that's why people are just really attracted to this guy.

MORGAN: Yeah, I've got to say, I find Bolt a -- not only a compelling character, but I love the way he runs on the track. I love the way he behaves off it. A guy -- he's exactly what the sport needs. An obvious questions, I guess, talking to you is that people will watch Usain Bolt -- and I remember when Ben Johnson won the 100 meters. There's a surge of excitement when you see these amazing performers.

Then there's always that element of doubt because of what happened with Ben Johnson and so on. Bolt himself has said, if he's not clean, it will kill athletics, kill sprinting. I think he's probably right. Do you believe that the achievements of the Jamaican team should be viewed without any suspicion?

JONES: I certainly don't think so. I think we spoke a few days ago about the young Chinese swimmer, and so much being said about her performance. I think it's so unfair. There's never been any test to show that there's anything suspicious in any of the Jamaicans running or any of that. Let them shine. If they're running fast and they're doing it clean, you know, then give them all the props they deserve.

Now, whatever point in the future something comes out, once again, the world will deal with it accordingly. I agree that that would be a huge blow for the sport of track and field. But we're not even at that point. There's been no suspicion. There's certainly going to always be in the history of the sport people who whisper or who go on blogs or who do these certain things. But there's nothing to say that he's doing anything that he shouldn't.

MORGAN: No, totally. And I take him at his word. I also think that any man that could win the 100 meters at the Olympics twice running, but do it on a diet of McDonalds, is my kind of hero. Usain, if you're watching, we love you.

Marion, thank you for joining me.

JONES: Thank you, Piers. Have a good day.

MORGAN: When we come back, my prime time exclusive with golden girl Serena Williams. Her advice for her fellow Olympians.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SERENA WILLIAMS, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: I've never won the singles Olympic gold medal. I have two gold medals in doubles, which is really cool. So this time I'll have a chance to go for the singles. We'll see what happens. Hopefully I won't get nervous this time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: That was Serena Williams back in May. She's been on a tear ever since. Just weeks after winning Wimbledon, she competed a career golden slam here at the 2012 London games, winning her first singles gold medal on Saturday, and adding a women's double title with her sister Venus on Sunday.

Serena, congratulations.

WILLIAMS: Thank you.

MORGAN: The last time I saw you, you were hoping to win this -- look at this, glaring at me.

WILLIAMS: Yeah. I've got two, which I'm really, really excited about.

MORGAN: I basically have the purple bit. I just don't have the gold bit.

WILLIAMS: You just got to get the main, main part.

MORGAN: I watched you in the final. You really wanted to win that. Anyone that tries to doubt that you pro tennis players take this seriously, you wanted that.

WILLIAMS: Exactly. Piers, I really wanted it more than anything. I wanted to be out there. When I walked out there, I thought, I love gold. It's my favorite color. Let me get gold. I don't want to get silver. Let me get gold. This is what I want. This is what I want to do. I'm not going to have a better opportunity. I'm on grass. I play amazing on this surface. This surface was made for me. Let's do it.

MORGAN: The louder I thought that Maria grunted, the more powerful your shots were? It seemed to be working in reverse.

WILLIAMS: Yeah. I don't know. I didn't even think about it. I haven't saw the match yet. Obviously I'm going to watch it and try to learn from it. But I haven't had a chance to kind of like see anything. It's been so much.

MORGAN: The best bit was actually after you won, because you then started doing this crazy dance, which I --

WILLIAMS: I was so happy.

MORGAN: I immediately went on Twitter and dubbed it the Serena Shuffle.

WILLIAMS: I like that.

MORGAN: But then I got told actually it was a Crip (ph) walk, like a gangster walk.

WILLIAMS: Do I look gangster?

MORGAN: Yes --

WILLIAMS: No, I'm not. I just love it. I love to dance. I was so happy. I didn't know what to do. There was no trophy so I couldn't jump and hold it at the same time. So it was just -- I didn't mean -- I just started dancing. It was fun. It just felt so good to win that gold medal in singles and have that moment and to know that, OK, yes, I'm -- I'm contributing to the U.S. getting gold medals. I also felt really good because we came over here as a team.

MORGAN: The thing you haven't gotten around to yet is thanking me for the game that we played back in May.

WILLIAMS: You did help me. You helped me get tough mentally I think.

MORGAN: By giving you such a terrible beating.

WILLIAMS: Allegedly, yes, exactly.

MORGAN: What was great, though -- because I've seen you a few times in the last 18 months. I remember one time we first met at this party in L.A. You were in the doldrums. You had these terrible afflictions hitting you left, right and center. It must feel so satisfying to you now that, after all that, all you went through, maybe even doubting you'd play again at the highest level, here you are Wimbledon, gold medal at the Olympics.

WILLIAMS: There were times I never knew if I would even play tennis again, because it wasn't looking so good. But I just -- one day I woke up and I was like, I think I can practice today. I'm going to see how it goes. That's how you always start. You start with baby steps and then bigger steps and bigger steps.

Mostly for me, it was all about never giving up, and always being really positive.

MORGAN: Good for you. Who has excited you most watching the other sports?

WILLIAMS: Gosh, I can't sit here and not say Michael Phelps. I'm really good friends with Ryan Lochte. So I always text him and tell him he's doing good.

MORGAN: Really? He's single, of course.

WILLIAMS: We're really good friends.

MORGAN: You're single too.

(CROSS TALK)

WILLIAMS: I don't date. I'm not into that. I'm just into tennis, which works out for me. I'm good at tennis. I'm not good at the other stuff. I'm really, really good at tennis. I'm excellent at it.

MORGAN: What about Usain Bolt last night?

WILLIAMS: I was going to get to him too. I loved him running. He was just -- just took off. I saw that. I was just really amazed. I loved watching Gabby Douglas doing her thing in the gymnastics. That's been so exciting. It's been great. It's been wonderful to see.

My favorite was a south African Athlete that didn't have --

(CROSS TALK)

MORGAN: That was a pretty amazing thing to watch.

WILLIAMS: I had chill bumps all over. I was so inspired by that. I thought, wow, had a little ache and pain here and there. But who am I to complain. We have someone like this, who's not making any excuses, and who is here because he's an Olympian, an Olympic athlete. What an honor to be at the same Olympic games as this guy.

Those are the moments that you live for. For me to be here and to see those moments, and to be a part of those moments, it just makes my Olympics just completely memorable.

MORGAN: And more importantly, to be sitting here with me again?

WILLIAMS: Yes.

MORGAN: Coming up, Olympic champion Gabby Douglas, her road to gold and the two women that made it all possible.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Gabby Douglas is basking in the glow of becoming the first African American woman to win an all around gold medal in gymnastics. It didn't come easy. No one knows that better than her two moms, Natalie Hawkins and Missy Parton.

Natalie, Missy, welcome to the pair of you. It's quite strange having two moms. You literally have been to Gabby, both in your own way, moms at various stages of her life. Tell me how this all started. Because you have this brilliantly talented young girl, from the age of three doing perfect cartwheels. As you realize she's getting better and better, you know that she needs to move away from the family home, a tough decision for you.

Take me back to that decision?

NATALIE HAWKINS, GABBY DOUGLAS' MOTHER: About 2008, she was about 11, she started saying, mom, I think that I can do this. We watched the 2008 Olympics, and Sean Johnson was trying to go for gold in Beijing. She said, I'm doing the skills that they're doing, mom. I need a new coach. I can do this. I know I can, but I need her coach.

And when your child is 11, you think they don't know what they're talking about. Wishful thinking. For about two more years, she continued to pressure me about it and say mom, I really think I have a good shot, but I need a coach that I know can take me to that level.

In 2010 she came to me and she said -- she gave me an ultimatum, actually. She said, either I can find a new coach or I want to give up doing this sport.

MORGAN: Or she's finding a new mother? HAWKINS: Or that too.

MORGAN: Which brings me neatly to you, Missy. So at this point she now has to leave. She has to leave the family home. And she comes to this new coach, travels a world away, and finds herself with you. You're going to be her surrogate mom for what turned out to be two years.

When she first arrived, what was your first impression?

MISSY PARTON, GABBY DOUGLAS' "OTHER MOM": She glows when she smiles and she's a doll to be around. So it didn't take long for us to completely fall in love with her. And the hardest part was probably getting her to feel comfortable with being incorporated into our family. I felt that no matter what, everything we did, she was going to join us. And she just fairly instantly became one of my daughters.

MORGAN: What was the moment like when she won gold?

HAWKINS: For me, it was just total elation, because I knew what had gone into making that dream come true. And I just -- in that instant, you know -- I just saw like a flash before me, where all of the sacrifice, all of the hard work, all of the dedication and the perseverance just paid off in that moment. And I just -- I lost it. I couldn't stop crying.

It also felt like a release. I felt like I had been holding so much weight on my shoulders. And then when I saw, oh, my God, she accomplished her dream, she did it, it was just a phenomenal moment.

MORGAN: Missy, for you?

PARTON: Just so proud of her, to again make all the sacrifices that she made at such a young age, and then go out and live her dream and at the same time representing her country. And she was beaming. And it was just so much fun to watch that. And just so proud of her.

MORGAN: What about the big scandal, though, her hair?

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: I loved her hair.

HAWKINS: I did too.

MORGAN: What was wrong with her.

HAWKINS: I was like, what are they talking about? I thought it looked great. She's doing it herself.

MORGAN: I think it's cute. I like her hair. Tell her not to change it.

HAWKINS: It's not like she can wear it down and flowing.

MORGAN: That was ridiculous, didn't you think?

HAWKINS: Yes.

MORGAN: Now President Obama called her. Oprah Winfrey has Tweeted her. Could you ever imagine in your wildest dreams this was going to happen to your little girl?

HAWKINS: No. I never pictured any of that. I just thought it would something like this: she would go to training, when would achieve her dream, she would be on the Olympic podium and then she'd step down and we'd go out to our favorite restaurant and celebrate.

MORGAN: She's going to be the face of Kellogg's Corn Flakes.

HAWKINS: Yes.

MORGAN: I like Corn Flakes, so I'm quite pleased about this. Presumably huge money offers are just pouring in, right? How are you going to keep a lid on it? How are you going to keep her under control?

HAWKINS: Right now, we're taking our time to see which brands most are compatible with what she wants to personify. And so I don't think there's a huge rush. So we're just taking our time right now.

MORGAN: Good for you. And congratulations to both of you. Not many Olympic gold medal winners have two moms in here to cheer them on. I think it's a great story, wonderful the dedication you both showed us. So thank you for joining me and sharing that.

HAWKINS: Thank you for having us.

MORGAN: Nice to see you.

When we come back, I'll tell you what Usain Bolt has in common with a certain Mars Rover.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Before we leave you tonight, just thoughts on a couple of out of this world accomplishments. The first is, of course, NASA's Mars Rover, the aptly named Curiosity, which successfully carried out a highly challenging landing on the Red Planet this morning. Its mission, well you can say, is to boldly go where no man has gone before.

Listen to Jim Garvin of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM GARVIN, NASA: Curiosity's getting ready to do her job, which is going to be a two-year marathon exploring Mars in one of the most exciting places we could ever find. Now, it's the slow warming up wake up. It's kind of like an Olympic athlete warming up before that race, that tumbling routine, whatever. For all of us, we just got the gold medal in the Olympics getting there. So now it's all the gravy of doing the science that guys like me are -- can't wait to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Quite astonishing. But while the Rover Curiosity is searching for signs of life on Mars, I found my own curiosity right here on Planet Earth, something that can move faster than almost any other creature in the history of our great plane planet, the extraordinary Usain Bolt, the fastest human on Earth, the pride of Jamaica, and I've got to be honest here, a bit of a personal hero of mine, a man who just before he smashed the Olympic record ate at McDonald's.

That's my kind of athlete. That's all for us tonight. "AC 360" starts now.