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Gabby Douglas Eyes 2024 Olympic Comeback: Everything to Know About the Gymnastics Legend

The world-class gymnast has been flying under the radar since last competing in the Olympic Games!
 

By Chris Phelan
Gabby Douglas smiles in a tan sweater during Hallmark's "Home & Family" event

It seems like it was only yesterday when 16-year-old Gabby Douglas took the gymnastic world by storm and took home Olympic gold in dramatic fashion.

Fans will never forget the dominance of Gabby Douglas during the individual all-around competition during the London Games of 2012, in which she staked her claim as the only person of color ever to win the event. To say she captured the hearts of fans worldwide is an understatement – she literally made history.

It was a successful first appearance in the Olympics for Gabby, who won another gold medal in the team competition to set the bar unfairly high for her competition.

Of course, Gabby followed up her 2012 act with another winning performance. In Rio de Janeiro, she added another gold medal to her trophy case as Team USA won the team competition for the second Olympics in a row.

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In 2024, Gabby Douglas finds herself twelve years removed from when she became a household name – and she's not done yet. Keep reading to find out what Gabby has accomplished since that memorable time in London and if fans should expect her to compete on a world stage for the first time in eight years.

What does Gabby Douglas do for a living?

After her virtuoso performances in Rio de Janeiro, Gabby Douglas quietly moved on from the world of gymnastics and focused on her personal life. Though it may seem odd that Gabby Douglas would walk away from competition while arguably being at the height of her abilities, athletes closing the Olympics chapter of their lives is more common than someone like Michael Phelps would want you to believe.

Though Gabby never formally announced her retirement, in the years since the 2016 Summer Games, fans saw the writing on the wall. It was clear that Gabby intended to distance herself from the sport, opting to skip the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Fortunately, however, Gabby stayed busy with speaking appearances and onscreen gigs.

Thanks to her newfound fame, Gabby found herself on the cover of Sports Illustrated, TIME, and cereal boxes. America had fallen in love with the effortless grace and power Gabby showed in competition, and conventional wisdom suggests that an untold number of young women — especially people of color — were inspired by Gabby and wanted to follow in her gymnastic footsteps.

Gabby was no stranger to television, either – she won a season of The Masked Dancer, a spin-off of a popular reality competition series. She also found herself with guest starring roles in Disney animated projects and even donned a clever disguise during a particularly heartfelt episode of Undercover Boss

Yet, despite these accomplishments, most sports fans readily admit that Gabby Douglas has successfully flown under the radar ever since she won her third (and presumably final) gold medal in 2016.

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Gabby Douglas during her balance beam routine during the london 2012 olympics

Is Gabby Douglas competing in the 2024 Olympics?

As any twenty-something will tell you, sometimes all it takes is one heartfelt social media post to get the world buzzing. On July 13, 2023, Gabby posted a black-and-white photo of her practicing on a balance beam to her Instagram account. The caption began with a cheeky, innocuous, “Hey guys, long time no post.”

It was in her caption that she revealed she was working on a comeback — with returning to the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris as her ultimate goal!

“I wanted to find the joy again for the sport that I absolutely love doing,” Gabby admitted. “I know I have a huge task ahead of me, and I am beyond grateful and excited to get back out on the floor.”

“I am so grateful for the body that I have and so grateful that I still can go out on the floor and do what I love,” Douglas told TIME in November. “I never wanted to have a hatred for the sport I love. I don’t want to end it that way. I have never announced retirement, I always kept it in the back of my mind, like, we have to finish on a better note.”

Then, on Feb. 6, Gabby Douglas announced she would attempt to do what many fans consider impossible: Return to Team USA after a near decade-long absence. "After watching the 2022 championships, I was like I miss competing... I found myself in the gym, and I was like, all right, maybe I could do this again," she shared on Hallie Jackson NOW

From the sound of it, Gabby is on the right track to go for gold medal number four. She has been fiercely training for a year and a half, and now looks toward a handful of events in her future that can reveal a clear path to Paris, starting with the Winter Cup Challenge, the first official Team USA event of the year.

While Gabby’s event schedule hasn’t been announced, fans are hopeful that the Winter Cup, currently scheduled for February 23-25 in Louisville, Kentucky, can be a barometer for her progress. 

If all goes well in Louisville, then Gabby Douglas could become the first American woman since Dominique Dawes to make three Olympic teams — though Simone Biles is also a contender for that title.

To see how Team USA performs at the 2024 Olympics, tune in to Peacock and NBC beginning July 26.

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