The pool of gymnastics prospects for the 2024 Paris Olympics just got even more exciting.
Trailblazer and three-time Olympic champion Gabby Douglas has returned to training and has her sights on the upcoming games, the 27-year-old announced via Instagram on Thursday.
One of very few U.S. gymnasts to ever compete at back-to-back Olympic Games, Douglas has been inactive since the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro where she received a team gold medal.
In the announcement of her return, she detailed her mindset during the long period away from the sport, saying she’s “found [herself] back where it all began.” She paired the message with two black-and-white photos of herself appearing to be in vintage form on the balance beam.
“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,” Douglas wrote. “I wanted to find the joy again for the sport that I absolutely love doing.
Douglas acknowledged the road toward securing her place on the U.S. Olympic team once again will be difficult.
“I know I have a huge task ahead of me and I am beyond grateful and excited to get back out on the floor,” she wrote.
She also posted a video of herself practicing her signature uneven bars, the event in which she won the 2012 U.S National Championship title. She went on to make history as the first Black woman to win the all-around Olympic title in 2012.
A sign in the background of her initial photos she has been training at World Olympic Gymnastics Academy, the Texas gym owned by 2008 Olympic champion Nastia Liukin’s parents.
Now that she has announced it herself, all three of the past Olympic Champions are back in training with hopes to return to the games.
Simone Biles, the 2016 Olympic champion, is set to compete for the first time since 2021 at next month’s U.S. Classic. The news was broken by the entry list for the event, which also featured Sunisa Lee. The Auburn star won gold in Tokyo in 2021 and was forced to abbreviate her last collegiate season due to a kidney issue. Training around the condition, she told her Instagram followers Wednesday she’s “still in & out of gym.”
Lee and Biles also participated in a U.S. team training camp which concluded on Wednesday. Douglas didn’t appear at the camp. Hopefully, she will compete in the U.S. Classic, which is the qualifier for the national championships.