Gabby Douglas health update: Gymnastics star ruled out of Winter Cup after testing positive for COVID-19

Gabby Douglas’ return to the competition mat will take a little longer than previously hoped.

The three-time Olympic gold medalist and gymnastics legend was set to attempt the second act of her career in Louisville on Saturday during the 2024 Winter Cup. However, on Thursday, the 28-year-old — who hasn’t competed since the 2016 Rio Olympics — announced that she was pulling out of this weekend’s festivities due to illness.

Here’s what you need to know after Douglas’ latest comeback attempt was derailed due to circumstances beyond her control.

Gabby Douglas health update

Douglas tested positive for COVID-19, she announced on social media Thursday afternoon. She took to Instagram to reveal the news to her sizable following.

Douglas was attempting an unprecedented return to competition after eight years away. At 28, she represented one of — if not the — oldest gymnast in the field at the Winter Cup.

She didn’t plan on returning to her all-around glory; Douglas only planned on taking part in the floor competition on Saturday. However, many believed a strong showing in Louisville could set the stage for Douglas to attempt to earn a spot on the Stars and Stripes’ Olympic side for the summer. It’s unclear whether such plans are still in motion given Douglas’ absence in Saturday’s competition.

Gymnastics has long been a young person’s game, its depth-defying flips and inch-perfect pikes proving draining on even the most lithe of athletes. Douglas was attempting to be next in a line of aging wonders to find success at the sport’s top level. In the Tokyo Games, Italian Vanessa Ferrari — a 30-year-old — captured silver on the floor. She was joined on the podium by gold medalist Jade Carey (then 21) and bronze medalists Mai Murakawi and Angelina Melnikova (24 and 21, respectively).

The opportunity still remains for Douglas to return to the fore. She should have a few more chances to compete under the lights, if she so insists.

When could Gabby Douglas next compete?

With Douglas’ health ruling her out of the Winter Cup, her sights will be fixed on the U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Hartford, Conn. on May 17-18. That’s likely the next time fans can expect to see Douglas — as well as Simone Biles and Suni Lee — don the star-spangled leotard on one of gymnastics’ grandest stages.

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