Gabby Douglas Returns to Competitive Gymnastics with Eye on Olympics
Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas announces her comeback at the Winter Cup competition, aiming to qualify for the 2024 U.S. Gymnastics Championships.
After a dazzling Olympic performance 12 years ago, where she secured two gold medals, Gabby Douglas is making a return to the elite gymnastics stage. This is a significant step in her comeback journey, which she announced last summer.
The 28-year-old athlete is gearing up to compete at the Winter Cup competition on February 24th, an event in Louisville, Kentucky. This event serves as a qualifier for the 2024 U.S. Gymnastics Championships, leading up to the upcoming Olympics in Paris this summer.
Expressing her excitement, Douglas took to her Instagram to share, "SO happy to get back out on the competition floor and enjoy this sport that I fell in love with as a little girl." USA Gymnastics responded, "See you in Louisville!"
Douglas recently posted a video showcasing her rigorous workouts, revealing an athlete who has gained muscle while maintaining the grace and skill that made her a star at the age of 16. At the London games in 2012, she became the first African American gymnast to win Olympic gold in the individual all-around.
After her rise to stardom with team and all-around gold medals, Douglas expressed her desire to compete in one more Olympics, in Rio. She achieved this goal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil, where she won her third gold in the team event. Following this, she took a break from competing, focusing on speaking engagements instead of gymnastics. However, she has since reignited her competitive spirit.
In an interview on NBC News' Hallie Jackson NOW, Douglas shared, "I didn't want to end this sport how I did in 2016. I wanted to take a step back and work on my mental state."
Now, both Douglas and Simone Biles are working to compete in Paris; Biles announced her own comeback last year. If they make it, it would mark their third Olympics, bringing them equal to Dominique Dawes.
Douglas and Biles are among a generation of exceptional gymnasts whose lives were impacted by the sexual abuse perpetrated by former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. Many of these athletes, including Douglas and Biles, have spoken out about the ongoing mental health challenges they face.
The announcement of Douglas' comeback was met with enthusiasm from her former teammates, such as McKayla Maroney, who wrote, "Amen girl. Let's go. Cheering you on for life."
Valorie Kondos Field, the legendary "Miss Val," expressed her excitement about Douglas' return to the sport, saying, "You see this in a lot of other sports, but it is unprecedented in gymnastics. When an athlete is able to step away and heal comprehensively - mentally, emotionally, physically - and then they're excited to come back to the sport, I think it's wonderful."
In her updates to fans, Douglas has shared that she is enjoying the training process and is committed to her goal. Both Douglas and Biles face stiff competition to secure spots on the U.S. Olympic team, including the reigning Olympic all-around champion Sunisa Lee, and fellow medalists Jordan Chiles and Jade Carey.
When asked if she would advise Douglas to focus on a single event or vie for a spot in the all-around event, Kondos Field replied, "I would say, 'Let's make an all-around assault, Gabby - let's go for it.' Take your chips and go all in, let's see what we've got."