Gabby Douglas forced to end journey to the 2024 Olympics

Following an ankle injury, Douglas withdrew from the U.S. championships, ending her attempt to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Gymnast Gabby Douglas is shown prior to the 2024 Core Hydration Classic at XL Center on May 18 in Hartford, Connecticut. Douglas has now officially ended her bid for a spot at the 2024 Paris Olympics. (Photo: Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

Gabby Douglas has officially ended her bid for a spot at the 2024 Paris Olympics. This week, the three-time Olympic champion withdrew from the U.S. gymnastics championships scheduled to take place this weekend in Fort Worth, Texas, due to an ankle injury acquired during training.

Despite ending her chances to represent Team USA this summer, Douglas is reportedly proud of her performance thus far. 

“I love this sport, and I love pushing my limits,” Douglas told ESPN. “I proved to myself and to the sport that my skills remain at an elite level.” 

In April, the renowned gymnast kicked off her comeback to the sport, competing for the first time in eight years at the American Classic. After becoming the first Black woman to win an all-around title at the 2012 Olympics, Douglas was last seen competing in Rio at the 2016 Olympics, where she helped Team USA win a gold medal. 

“I wanted to find the joy again for the sport that I absolutely love,” Douglas wrote in a now-deleted Instagram post. “I know I have a huge task ahead of me, and I am beyond grateful and excited to get back out on the floor.”

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At 28 years old, Douglas would have been the oldest American woman to compete in the Olympics gymnastics category since 1952. In addition to training her body to uphold the physical demands of the sport, the Olympic champion explained how her passion for gymnastics fueled her attempt.  

“I think when you love your craft, and you’re willing to work for your craft, it’ll work for you,” she told NBC News Now. “I never announced a retirement. 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.” 

“Regardless of the outcome, I want to make sure I end on love and joy instead of hating something that I love,” she added, per USA Today

Despite her rocky performance at the recent U.S. Classic competition, Douglas is not giving up. With her physical health being her top priority, the former Olympian plans to return to Los Angeles, recover, and get back into training. 

“My plan is to continue to train for the L.A. 2028 Olympics. It would be such an honor to represent the U.S. at a home Olympics,” said Douglas, who will be 32 by the next Olympic Games, ESPN reported. “I hope I can inspire both my peers and the next generation of gymnasts that age is just a number, and you can accomplish anything you work hard for.”