Gabby Douglas has officially withdrawn from the upcoming USA Gymnastics Championships in Fort Worth, Texas, citing an ankle injury. This decision marks the end of her ambitious attempt to join the 2024 Paris Olympic team after an extended break of eight years from competitive gymnastics.

Douglas expressed her unwavering passion for the sport and her aspirations to serve as an inspiration to others. “I love this sport and I love pushing my limits,” Douglas conveyed to ESPN’s Alyssa Roenigk. “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.”

The 28-year-old gymnast was set to compete in three of the four events—vault, uneven bars, and balance beam—after failing to qualify for the all-around competition. Had she made the team, Douglas would have become the oldest American woman to participate in the Olympic gymnastics competition since 1952.

Additionally, she would have been the first American woman since Dominique Dawes to be selected for three Olympic teams. Her last Olympic appearance was at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she was part of the gold-winning U.S. team.

Douglas, who made history in 2012 as the first Black gymnast to win the Olympic all-around gold medal, shared with NBC News earlier in February that her decision to return was sparked by watching the 2022 U.S. Championships. “I didn’t want to end this sport how I did in 2016. I wanted to take a step back and work on my mental state,” she explained. Despite her focus on all four apparatuses, she had been concentrating more on the uneven bars. “I love gymnastics and love pushing myself. … I never wanted to walk away on a bad day.”

Her comeback trail faced another setback in February when she tested positive for COVID-19, leading to her withdrawal from the USA Gymnastics Winter Cup in Louisville, Kentucky. Earlier this month, Douglas competed at the U.S. Classic in Hartford, Connecticut, where she struggled on the uneven bars and subsequently withdrew.

Despite the current hurdles, Douglas remains optimistic about the future. She told Roenigk that while she won’t be part of the 2024 Olympic team, she is setting her sights on the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles, where she will be 32 years old. Her journey underscores a powerful message about resilience and the pursuit of one’s passions, regardless of age.



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