The return of another star: Gabrielle Douglas aims for Paris 2024

The return of another star: Gabrielle Douglas aims for Paris 2024
Douglas Nassar USA gymnastics (Getty Images/)

On June 28, Simone Biles shook the world by announcing her return to gymnastics after her retirement in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. After almost two years, the multiple Olympic champion will be competing in the US Classic. While this is a national competition, gymnastics and sports fans in general dream of seeing her again at an Olympic Game.

As if that weren’t great news in and of itself, an “old” star is also coming back. Last Thursday, Gabrielle Douglas, 27, announced her return to competition. The individual and team Olympic champion in London 2012 dreams of repeating the feat at the next Paris 2024 Games. Gaby was also Olympic team champion at Rio 2016, her last competition as a high-performance gymnast.

The years that followed were far from easy for her. Gabby was one of Larry Nassar’s many victims. Along with 124 other victims, including other Olympic champions such as Simone Biles and Ally Raisman, they filed a complaint of sexual abuse against their team doctor.

“For many years, I’ve had an ache in my heart but I didn’t want to keep carrying anger, pain, sadness, or regret and through my tears and hurt, I’ve found peace” says her message, which she shared on her social media. “I wanted to find the joy again for the sport that I absolutely love doing”

With a small – it seems impossible to erase so much pain – sense of justice, Nassar is in prison after receiving a 175-year sentence for his actions, Gabrielle managed to reconnect with her beloved sport and resume training with the goal of returning to the top.

Despite her great public exposure during the prime of her career, after her retirement, she took refuge from social media – she suffered a lot of criticism after her participation in Rio – and she spoke little about her retirement and the reasons behind it.

From time to time, she thanks fans for the support and gives updates on her life outside of gymnastics. At the end of last year, she shared on her Instagram a compilation of different routines she did throughout her career and expressed a profound message: “I know I don’t post much about gymnastics, but I have my reasons,” she begins. “Behind the scenes there were so many atrocious things that I went through on the road to my second Game. I went through hell x2 and lost my joy, lost my passion, my fire, my love and then myself.”

Without revealing much information, she stressed the importance of helping and inspiring other people and spreading love and support even without knowing what the other person is going through.

GYMNASTICS-OLY-2016-RIO
GYMNASTICS-OLY-2016-RIO (AFP/)

The road to Paris is long. And if there’s one thing that the United States stands out at, it’s gymnastics.

Many candidates will be competing for the long-awaited places for the Games and Gabby is joining forces and dedication to live up to the task. If we are lucky enough, Paris could be the place where all these great gymnastics stars came together, who thrilled, inspired and challenged us with the message that, even after having fulfilled our dreams, there is always a new summit to conquer.

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