Gabby Douglas is officially getting back on the mat. On July 13, the decorated artistic gymnast announced her return to the sport on Instagram, subtly indicating she was planning for the 2024 Olympics. Douglas, who became the first Black woman to win the Olympic all-around title in 2012, last competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
"I wanted to find the joy again for the sport that I absolutely love doing."
"For many years, I've had an ache in my heart but I didn't want to keep carrying anger, pain, sadness, or regret and through my tears and hurt, I've found peace," she wrote alongside photos of her practicing on the beam. "I wanted to find the joy again for the sport that I absolutely love doing. I know I have a huge task ahead of me and I am beyond grateful and excited to get back out on the floor and even more grateful for all of your support and love. It truly means so much. There's so much to be said but for now. . . Let's do this." She ended her post with a 2024 hashtag.
Douglas also shared she finally "found myself back where it all began" after taking time away from the spotlight and social media. In August 2022, the gymnast announced her decision to step away from social media for her mental health. "I have carried a heavy weight on my back for quite some time and it has weighed me down, physically, mentally, and emotionally," she wrote at the time. "So many things and people have tried to crush and break me. I no longer want to run, but fight and heal . . . I want to feel light and happy again."
Rumours of Douglas's comeback started circulating in late 2022, and in February, a coach at the World Olympic Gymnastics Academy confirmed she was training at the gym. Douglas is the third Olympic champion to share her goal to compete in the Paris Olympics as of late: USA Gymnastics recently revealed seven-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles was competing for the first time since the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the 2023 US Classic in August, and in April, 2020 Olympic all-around champion Suni Lee confirmed she would continue pursuing her dreams for a bid to Paris despite ending her college gymnastics career early.
Take a closer look at Douglas's announcement in full below.