Gabby Douglas has been away from gymnastics training for nearly one year now, her longest break since she took up the sport at age 6.
The 2012 Olympic all-around champion has not retired, but unlike Final Five teammates Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and Laurie Hernandez, has no set plan to return to the gym. Yet.
“We’ll see. I mean, right now, it’s up in the air,” Douglas said while promoting Post-it’s “Make it Stick” back-to-school initiative on Wednesday. “I’m enjoying the time off.”
At this time in the last Olympic cycle, Douglas had already returned to coach Liang Chow‘s gym in West Des Moines, Iowa, for two months. However, she would leave for Los Angeles in summer 2013 before ultimately landing in Ohio for her return to competition in March 2015.
It was all different five years ago. Today is the fifth anniversary of the London 2012 Opening Ceremony.
Douglas rose from out of nowhere — compared to Simone Biles, who dominated from 2013 through Rio — to win her Olympic all-around title and then repeatedly said the rest of summer 2012 that she planned a run to Rio.
“This time is different because I’ve been to two Olympics, and I always wanted to go to two Olympics,” Douglas said Wednesday. “But right now since I’ve been doing gymnastics for 14 years, I am taking this time off, especially growing into my own person.”
Douglas confirmed she’s keeping her gymnastics options open by saying she’s still filling out whereabouts forms for drug testing. Generally, Olympic medalists make their retirements official by filing paperwork to take their names out of a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency testing pool (see Michael Phelps).
But her focus is clearly outside of the gym for the forseeable future. Douglas began taking acting classes in Los Angeles in June, like fellow gymnastics medalist Danell Leyva (who doesn’t plan to come back).
Her ultimate goal is to appear in movies.
“It’s the same, but different,” Douglas said of acting versus gymnastics. “You have to expose your vulnerability a little bit in acting classes.”
Douglas is aware that 2012 and 2016 Olympic teammate Aly Raisman hopes to make a third Olympic team in 2020. Does Douglas think Raisman is inspirational or just crazy?
“It’s whatever you want to do,” she said, “whatever you want to achieve.”
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