What happened to Gabby Douglas? Ankle injury ends gymnast’s bid to make 2024 Olympics

Gabby Douglas made a comeback in 2024, hoping to become the oldest American gymnast to qualify for the event since 1952. She came up short in her efforts to do so.

Douglas announced Wednesday she had withdrawn from competition at the 2024 U.S. Championships after suffering an injury during her training for the event.

“I love this sport and I love pushing my limits,” Douglas told ESPN. “I hope I can inspire both my peers and the next generation of gymnasts that age is just a number, and you can accomplish anything you work hard for.”

Douglas’ comeback saw her compete at the American Classic and U.S. Classic. She had to withdraw from the latter event after performing just one event — the uneven bars — and struggling during her run.

Douglas’ withdrawal will whittle the number of gymnasts competing at the U.S. Championships from 42 to 41. Here’s what else to know about the injury and what’s next for Douglas going forward.

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Gabby Douglas injury

Douglas cited an ankle injury as her reason for withdrawing from the U.S. Championships. She said she suffered it during training ahead of the event but declined to provide more information about the malady.

Either way, it would have been difficult for Douglas to recover from any type of ankle injury — even a minor one — ahead of the U.S. Olympic gymnastics trials in late June. Thus, it makes sense for her to shut it down and give herself a chance to recover fully rather than risk her health to make an improbable Olympic bid.

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Gabby Douglas Olympics history

Douglas competed at the Olympics twice during her career in 2012 and 2016. She became the first Black gymnast to win the all-around gold medal — a feat accomplished as part of the “Fierce Five” at the 2012 London Olympics — and won back-to-back gold medals in the team competition at London in 2012 and Rio in 2016.

Those three gold medals comprise the major Olympic honors Douglas has to her name. She was aged 16 and 20 during her first two appearances at the Olympics, so making it back to the big stage after an eight-year hiatus would have been impressive.

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How old is Gabby Douglas?

Douglas is 28 years old and won’t turn 29 until the final day of December. USA Gymnastics hasn’t had a gymnast that age or older since 1952, when five members of the team were at least 28. They were as follows:

  • Marian Barone (28)
  • Dorothy Dalton (29)
  • Clara Schroth (31)
  • Meta Elste-Neumann (33)
  • Marie Hoesly (35)

Douglas may not have been able to join them in Team USA lore, but it doesn’t sound like she has given up rekindling her Olympic dreams.

What’s next for Gabby Douglas?

Douglas is already looking forward to competing in her next big gymnastics competition: The 2028 Olympics.

“I proved to myself and to the sport that my skills remain at an elite level,” Douglas told ESPN of her comeback. “My plan is to continue to train for the L.A. 2028 Olympics. It would be such an honor to represent the U.S. at a home Olympics.”

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Douglas would be 32 by the time the 2028 Olympics roll around, so making it onto the team won’t be easy.

Even so, if Douglas demonstrates great form over the next four years, she may have a chance to qualify for the squad — especially if Simone Biles and others decide to ride off into the sunset following the 2024 Olympic Games.

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