Former Olympic gymnastics champion Gabby Douglas announces return to competition

FILE -Gabby Douglas competes on the uneven bars during the U.S. women's gymnastics championships Sunday, June 26, 2016, in St. Louis.Douglas announced on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024 she will return to competition for the first time in nearly eight years when she competes at the Winter Cup in Louisville, Kentucky."(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

Gabby Douglas, the 2012 Olympic all-around gymnastics champion, will return to competition for the first time in nearly eight years at the Winter Cup in Louisville, Kentucky, on Feb. 24.

The 28-year-old Douglas, who made the announcement on NBC News NOW on Tuesday, was a teenager when she competed in London and became the first Black woman to win the Olympic title. She hasn't competed since helping the U.S. win team gold at the 2016 Olympics.

The three-time Olympic gold medalist went on an extended sabbatical after the Rio de Janeiro games but returned to training in 2022 and announced last summer she would try to make the 2024 Olympic team.

“I never announced a retirement,” Douglas told NBC. “I didn’t want to end this sport like I did in 2016. I wanted to take a step back and work on myself and my mental state.”

Douglas joins a crowded and decorated field hoping to make the five-woman Olympic squad, including 2016 Olympic champion Simone Biles and 2020 Olympic champion Sunisa Lee. Biles returned to competition last summer after a two-year break and won her record sixth world all-around title last fall.

Douglas said she is “definitely” pointing toward Paris but added she is taking things one day at a time.

The Winter Cup is the first significant U.S. meet of the year, with the Games looming in late July. Douglas has shared part of her journey on her social media channels, including an extended glimpse of her work on the uneven bars, historically her strongest event.

“I honestly love going to the gym and getting my skills back,” Douglas said. “It's is very exciting.”


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