Gabby Douglas, who was expected to make her return to competitive gymnastics on Saturday at the Winter Cup, announced her withdrawal from the event due to a positive Covid test.

“I was so excited to get back out on the competition floor, but unfortunately, I just tested positive for covid… I’m crushed but I’ll see you guys soon!,” Douglas said in an Instagram post on Thursday afternoon.

She was slated to compete in three of the four events on Saturday — vault, balance beam, and floor exercise — and would have faced reigning Olympic all-around champion, Sunisa Lee, in senior competition for the first time. Lee, who has been battling a kidney-related illness for the past year, is still registered for the event in Louisville, Kentucky, and plans to compete on uneven bars and beam.

Douglas announced her intention to return to competitive gymnastics at the Winter Cup on “Hallie Jackson NOW,” earlier this month.

“I didn’t want to end this sport how I did in 2016. I wanted to take a step back and work on my mental state,” she said in the interview. “I love gymnastics and love pushing myself. … I never wanted to walk away on a bad day.”

Douglas has not competed since the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where she was part of the second consecutive team gold medal for the U.S. women’s team. The team win in Rio garnered Douglas her third Olympic gold medal after she won two golds at the 2012 Olympics in London: team gold and all-around gold. Douglas’ all-around title made her the first Black gymnast to win the Olympic all-around gold medal.

Douglas never made an official retirement announcement after the Rio Olympics, but she did not attempt a comeback for the Tokyo games. At 28, she would have been the oldest gymnast in the competition at the Winter Cup.

If she is named to the Paris Olympic team, Douglas will be the first American woman since Dominique Dawes to make three Olympic teams. Her 2016 teammate, Simone Biles, is eyeing her third team as well.

The next major domestic competition on the road to Paris qualification is the Core Hydration Classic, which will be held in Hartford, Connecticut, on May 17 and 18.


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