Former Olympic champion Gabby Douglas will return to gymnastics competition for the first time in nearly eight years.
Douglas announced on Tuesday on NBC News NOW that she will compete at the Winter Cup in Louisville, Kentucky, on Feb. 24. The 28-year-old Douglas hasn’t competed since helping the U.S. Olympic team to gold in 2016.
Speaking to NBC News, Douglas said that she never walked away from the sport entirely. Instead, she went on an extended sabbatical and returned to training in 2022. Last summer, she announced she was going to try and 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.”
It’s stiff competition, with Olympic champions Simone Biles (2016) and Suni Lee (2020) also in the running. Biles won her record sixth world all-around title last fall after returning to competition last summer.
Douglas said that she didn’t want to end her career how it did in 2016 and walk away “on a bad day.”
“I’m still a competitor at heart,” Douglas said. “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.”
If she is named to the 2024 team, Douglas will be the first American woman since Dominique Dawes to make three Olympic teams. And she could do so alongside Simone Biles, who is also eyeing her third Olympics.