Olympic gold medalist and beloved gymnast Gabby Douglas has announced that she’ll be taking a step back from social media to focus on her mental health and personal development.
“I know I don’t post alot on social media, but I just want to let you guys know that I will be taking a step back from the socials to work on myself and focus on my mental health,” she said in an Instagram post. “My life has never been smooth or easy. I have carried a heavy weight on my back for quite some time and it has weighed me down physically, mentally, and emotionally, so many things and people have tried to crush and break me. I no longer want to run, but fight and heal. I refuse to be defeated by this weight, i refuse to be hardened by this weight. I want to feel light and happy again.”
The former Team USA player concluded the post by saying, “I want to be the best representation for all of you and be the best version of myself.”
Douglas went on to thank her fans, send her love, and encourage them to take time of for themselves too.
In her caption, she wrote what read like a poem, “Sometimes/we fall/we break/we fail/but then/we heal/we rise/we overcome.”
Douglas has had her fair share of challenges, such as coming forward to say she was sexually abused by Larry Nassar back in 2017 and enduring social media bullying for everything under the sun. She has been criticized for a range of things including the appearance of her hair, not smiling while watching her teammates, and not putting her hand over her heart during the National Anthem.
The three-time Olympic gold medalist stopped training in 2016. While she never publicly stated she was retiring, she hasn’t competed since the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. She recently posted an edited video of one of her performances alongside a heartfelt caption about her career as a gymnast.
“I know i don’t post a lot about gymnastics, but i have my reasons💔,” she wrote. “Behind the scenes there were so many egregious things that i went through on the road to my 2nd games. I went through hell x2 and i lost my joy, i lost my passion, my fire, my love, and then myself. There are still so many things that have been left in the dark. Hidden.”
Douglas added, “My only goal in life is to help and inspire 🖤 and my only desire is that people will only spread love bc you never know what someone is going through that you cannot see.”
For the record, Douglas is the first African-American gymnast in Olympic history to become the individual all-around champion. In the meantime she has made some guest appearances, including competing in Season 1 of the Masked Dancer in 2021, which she won.