Gabby Douglas, a pioneer in gymnastics, announces her comeback

Gabby Douglas, who in 2012 became the first black woman to win Olympic gymnastics’ top individual competition and later drew attention to the abuses in the sport, announced the ban. on instagram Thursday that she returned to competitive gymnastics.

It was not immediately clear when or where Douglas, 27, would compete after winning three Olympic gold medals, including two in London in 2012 and one in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. She has not petitioned to participate in its events this year and was not aware of with her plans.

Douglas, whose heroics have inspired a wave of girls of color to take up gymnastics, signaled her plans in a series of photos and a video of her gym training on balance beam and uneven bars.

“I know I have a huge task ahead of me and I am so grateful and excited to be back on Earth,” she wrote. “There’s a lot to be said but for now…let’s just do it.”

Douglas’ mother, who was once her manager, Natalie Hawkins, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

If Douglas attempts to qualify for the 2024 Paris Games, she could face stiff competition from Simone Biles, who has been tipped to return to elite competition, and Sonissa Lee. Both are former all-around champions. Jade Curry and Jordan Chiles, who competed in the Tokyo Olympics, are also expected to battle for the spots.

Douglas was 16 when she became the first black woman to win the all-around title at the 2012 London Olympics. Her American team also won gold in the team competition that year and again in 2016. The Rio de Janeiro Games that year were Douglas’ last competition for the national team.

Over the course of her career, Douglas has repeatedly faced online harassment, receiving criticism for everything from her appearance to her body language. Before taking to Instagram to announce her comeback, Douglas was on social media hiatus Since August.

Douglas was also among the most high-profile gymnasts to come forward with allegations of sexual assault against Dr. Lawrence G. Nassar, the longtime USA Gymnastics team physician, who has been accused by more than 160 women. Nassar pleaded guilty to federal charges in 2017 and was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison. He was said to have been stabbed in the chest, back and neck on Sunday at the Florida federal prison where he is serving his sentence.

Douglas said in an Instagram post in 2017 in which she acknowledged the abuse. “I’m very supportive of my teammates to come forward with what happened to them.”

The return proved difficult for the other gymnasts. Sean Johnson, a gold medalist on the team that competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, saw her attempt fail due to knee injuries. Her teammate, Nastia Liukin, also attempted a comeback but failed to qualify for the 2012 Olympic team.

Juliet McCorm Contribute to the preparation of reports.