Gabby Douglas comeback update: How decision to leave WOGA coaches could affect gymnastics star’s Olympic hopes

Gabby Douglas’ return to competition is one of U.S. gymnastics’ biggest storylines ahead of the 2024 Olympics. But her comeback bid has run into a few obstacles with the Paris Games just five months away.

COVID-19 forced Douglas to withdraw from last week’s Winter Cup, where she was set to step back into the spotlight. Douglas was “crushed” by her withdrawal, and her hopes for a spot on the Olympic team took at least a temporary hit.

Now Douglas is making a major change with the clock still ticking on Paris.

Here’s a look at why Douglas changed trainers, and what that decision could mean for her Olympic hopes.

MORE: What to know about Gabby Douglas’ age, career timeline amid comeback attempt

What Gabby Douglas’ WOGA departure could mean for 2024 Olympics

Douglas left the World Olympic Gymnastics Academy (WOGA) over the weekend, Olympics.com’s Scott Bregman reported Tuesday.

Douglas left Sunday after more than a year with the Dallas-area training facility, WOGA co-owner Anna Liukin confirmed to Bregman. Liukin and her husband Valeri had been coaching Douglas since 2022.

Douglas faced challenges in her quest to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team even before Tuesday’s news. She hasn’t competed in a formal event since 2016, and her age could work against her in the process. Douglas is two years older than record-breaking star Simone Biles, who at 26 is aiming to become the oldest female U.S. gymnast to compete at the Olympics in more than 70 years herself.

Now Douglas is unaffiliated with a training gym ahead of critical events that could allow her to qualify.

Douglas could qualify for the U.S. Championships in May through either April’s national team camp or American Classic. The U.S. Classic is also on the calendar in mid-May as a potential pathway to the U.S. Championships for Douglas.

The 28-year-old is a three-time Olympic gold medalist, including her gold medal in the all-around competition at the London Olympics in 2012. But she’s been away from competition for eight years, so reaching the Olympics again in 2024 represents a lofty goal.

Whether the decision to leave WOGA will affect her pursuit of a spot on the Olympic team will be a significant storyline to follow into the spring.

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