Gabby Douglas, who in 2012 became the first black woman to win the top individual Olympic gymnastics competition and later called attention to abuses within the sport, announced On Instagram on Thursday she was returning to competitive gymnastics.
It was not immediately clear when or where the 27-year-old Douglas would compete after winning three Olympic golds, including two in London in 2012 and one in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. She missed the Tokyo Games in 2021, a spokesperson for USA Gymnastics. she had not requested to participate in her events this year and was not aware of her plans.
Douglas, whose heroics inspired a wave of black girls to take up gymnastics, outlined her plans in a series of photos and video of her gym workouts on the balance beam and uneven bars.
“I know I have a big task ahead of me and I am beyond grateful and excited to be back on the court,” she wrote. “There’s so much to say, but for now… let’s do this.”
Douglas’ mother, who was also his business manager in the past, Natalie Hawkins, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
If Douglas tries to qualify for the 2024 Paris Games, she may face stiff competition from Simone Biles, who has signaled a return to elite competition, and Sunisa Lee. Both are former full champions. Jade Carey and Jordan Chiles, who competed at the Tokyo Games, are also expected to compete for spots.
Douglas was 16 years old when she became the first black woman to win the all-around title at the 2012 London Olympics. Her team USA also won gold in the team competition that year and again in 2016. The Games from Rio de Janeiro that year marked Douglas’ last competition for the national team.
During his career, Douglas repeatedly faced bullying online and received criticism for everything from his appearance to his body language. Before returning to Instagram to announce her return, Douglas had been on a social media hiatus. Since August.
Douglas was also among the most prominent gymnastics figures to bring sexual abuse allegations against Dr. Lawrence G. Nassar, the longtime USA Gymnastics team doctor, who was accused by more than 160 women. Nassar pleaded guilty to federal charges in 2017 and was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison. He was said to have been stabbed in the chest, back and neck Sunday at the Florida federal prison where he is serving his sentence.
“I didn’t publicly share my experiences and many other things because for years we were conditioned to be silent and quite frankly some things were extremely painful,” Douglas said in a 2017 Instagram post acknowledging that she had been abused. . “I wholeheartedly support my teammates for speaking out about what happened to them.”
Comebacks have proven difficult for other gymnasts. Shawn Johnson, a gold medalist on the team that competed in the 2008 Beijing Games, was thwarted by knee injuries. His teammate, Nastia Liukin, also tried to come back but failed to qualify for the 2012 Olympic team.
Juliet Macur contributed reporting.