Olympian Gabby Douglas Officially Returning to Gymnastics

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Olympic Champion Gabby Douglas Announces Return to Gymnastics

Gabby Douglas is going for the gold once again.

Eight years after stepping away from the mat, the Olympic gymnast announced that she will be competing at the upcoming Winter Cup on Feb. 24.

“I’m still a competitor at heart,” Gabby shared during her Feb. 6 appearance on NBC News’ Hallie Jackson Now. “After watching the 2022 championships, I was like, ‘I miss competing.'”

Soon, the 28-year-old said she found herself in the gym thinking “maybe I could do this again.”

“From that moment on,” Gabby recalled, “I just started training.”

The Winter Cup will be her first elite gymnastics competition since 2016, when she took “a step back and work on myself and work on my mental state.” 

Noting that she “never really announced a retirement” back then, Gabby continued, “I didn’t want to end this sport how I did in 2016.”

The athlete added, “I love this sport and I never wanted to walk away on a bad day. I want to make sure I really give it my all and end on a good note.”

And that means setting her sights on the Paris Olympics later this year. 

“I would just love to go back out there and represent Team U.S.A. just one more time,” Gabby said. “Just to have that feeling of being part of something—being part of a team again—would be a huge honor.”

Should she make it through the Olympic trials, the upcoming sporting event will be her third Summer Games.

Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb

Gabby previously competed at the 2012 London Olympics, winning a gold medal in both the all-around and team events as part of the “Fierce Five” alongside McKayla MaroneyAly RaismanKyla Ross and Jordyn Wieber. Gabby returned to the Olympic stage four years later at Rio de Janeiro, where she took home another gold with teammates Aly, Simone BilesLaurie Hernandez and Madison Kocian.

“What a journey so far,” Gabby wrote of her comeback in a Feb. 6 Instagram post. “it’s had its ups and downs, but i’m not done pushing the boundaries. i’m determined to make every moment count! SO happy to get back out on the competition floor and enjoy this sport that i fell in love with as a little girl. here’s to never giving up on our dreams.”

To catch up with your favorite Olympic gymnasts, keep reading.

(E! and NBC News are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)

Rich Clarkson / Rich Clarkson & Associates

Cathy Rigby

A pioneer in the sport, she was among the first female athletes to help popularize gymnastics in the nation, thanks to her strong performance at the 1968 Mexico City Games, although she never medaled. Rigby retired after the 1972 Olympics and is perhaps best known for playing the title role in the theatrical musical Peter Pan, which earned her a Tony Award nomination in 1991. 

She has been a familiar face to not only theatre fans but also TV viewers, due to serving for many years as an ABC Sports commentator, in addition to appearing on the series The Six Million Dollar Man. Rigby has also been open throughout the years about her previous battle with disordered eating. 

The star and husband Tom McCoy share two children, and she has two children from a previous marriage.

David Madison/Getty Images

Mary Lou Retton

A defining cultural figure of the 1980s before retiring in 1986, she won five medals at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. Among those prizes was gold in the all-around, making her the first American woman to achieve this feat in the sport. She shares four children with her ex-husband, former University of Houston quarterback Shannon Kelley, who she split from in 2018. 

Outside of athletics, she became vocal in politics, supporting President Ronald Reagan along his 1984 reelection campaign trail and later speaking at the 2004 Republican National Convention. Retton made cameos in the films Scrooged and Naked Gun 33+1⁄3, and more recently, she became the first woman inducted into the Houston Sports Hall of Fame in 2020. 

The retired athlete was hospitalized for severe pneumonia in 2023.

Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Shannon Miller

With a total of seven medals, won during the 1992 Barcelona Games and 1996 Atlanta Games, she is the most-awarded female Olympic gymnast in history. After failing to qualify for the 2020 Sydney Games, Miller turned her focus to her schooling, earning a business degree and later a law degree, although she never took the Bar Exam. 

Miller went on to appear in fitness videos, published the 2015 autobiography It’s Not About Perfect and is an advocate for preventing childhood obesity. She and second husband John Falconetti share two children. 

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Kerri Strug

She is a two-time medalist best known for competing on the vault despite an ankle injury at the 1996 Atlanta Games and later being carried to the podium by coach Béla Károlyi. The memorable feat led to a whirlwind of media moments, including appearances on SNL and Beverly Hills, 90210, plus a visit with President Bill Clinton, and she retired shortly thereafter. 

Strug went on to become a schoolteacher and also got involved in politics, including speaking at the 2004 Republican National Convention. Her memoir, Landing On My Feet, A Diary Of Dreams, is in development as a feature film from director Olivia Wilde, with Thomasin McKenzie attached to play the athlete. 

She and husband Robert Fischer share two children. 

ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP via Getty Images

Dominique Dawes

She competed in the 1992 Barcelona Games, 1996 Atlanta Games and 2000 Sydney Games, winning four medals. This includes the team gold in 1996, making her the first Black gymnast of any nationality to win a gold medal.

Dawes retired after the Sydney Games. She has appeared in multiple music videos, including Missy Elliott‘s “We Run This” in 2006, and played Patty Simcox in a 1990s Broadway revival of Grease

The athlete was named co-chair of President Barack Obama‘s President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition in 2010, and she is also an advocate for autism awareness. Dawes and husband Jeff Thompson share four children. 

Nick Laham/Getty Images

Shawn Johnson

She was among the stars of the 2008 Beijing Games, thanks to her four medals, including gold in the balance beam. Shawn retired just before the 2012 London Games, having already become a pop-culture personality due to winning Dancing With the Stars in 2009. 

She has remained a media mainstay ever since 2008, notching appearances on a long list of shows that includes The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Celebrity Apprentice, The Challenge: Champs vs. Stars, Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Who Wants to be a Millionaire and Family Feud. The star also led the Pledge of Allegiance at the 2008 Democratic National Convention and has authored several books, including the 2016 YA novel The Flip Side

Johnson shares three kids with NFL player Andrew East, who she married in 2016. The Olympian has been open about her previous struggles with disordered eating. 

Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Nastia Liukin

The gymnast nabbed five medals at the 2008 Beijing Games, including gold in the all-around. She retired just before the 2012 London Games and has appeared on such shows as Gossip Girl, Make It or Break It and Hellcats, in addition to making a cameo in the film Stick It. Nastia also competed on Dancing With the Stars in 2015 and released the memoir Finding My Shine in 2015.

In 2018, she and hockey player Matt Lombardi called off their engagement.

KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images

McKayla Maroney

Her two Olympic medals from the 2012 London Games include team gold. After winning silver in the vault that summer, she became a meme when her expression on the podium made her appear to be unimpressed. 

Maroney, who announced her retirement in 2016, has since transitioned into both acting and singing. She has appeared on a range of TV shows including Hart of Dixie, Bones and Superstore, and she released her first single, “Wake Up Call,” in 2020. 

In 2021, she appeared in a Geico ad, during which she gave her infamous “not impressed” look.

Nick Laham/Getty Images

Gabby Douglas

She was part of the gold-winning teams at both the 2012 London Games and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. She also won gold in the gymnastics all-around in 2016, becoming the first African American to do so. 

Douglas stepped away from the mat after the Rio Games and has become a prominent TV and media fixture. She published her 2012 memoir Grace, Gold, and Glory, was the subject of the 2014 Lifetime movie The Gabby Douglas Story and starred with her family in the Oxygen unscripted series Douglas Family Gold.

Other TV appearances include Kickin It and Undercover Boss, along with winning The Masked Dancer in 2020.

In 2024, she announced her comeback to the sport, sharing her hopes to compete in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Aly Raisman

The second-most-awarded American Olympic female gymnast behind Miller, Raisman picked up six medals between the 2012 London Games and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, including the floor competition gold in 2012, along with consecutive team golds.

Raisman, who retired after the Rio Games, released her memoir Fierce in 2017 and made a cameo in the 2019 Charlie’s Angels film. She placed fourth on Dancing With the Stars in 2013 and appeared in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in both 2017 and 2018. 

Her dating life has included a high-profile relationship with Colton Underwood that ended in 2017, prior to him appearing on The Bachelorette and later leading The Bachelor.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Laurie Hernandez

The two-time medalist at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games was part of the U.S. gold-winning team. She remains an active gymnast but did not qualify for the Olympic Trials ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Games. 

Aside from athletics, Hernandez won season 23 of Dancing With the Stars, becoming the youngest-ever champion at age 16, and served as a reporter on American Ninja Warrior Junior. She also voiced a character on Nickelodeon’s Middle School Moguls, which aired in 2019, and released memoir I Got This in 2017.

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