Three the hard way: Biles, Douglas and Lee headline historic US Classic

This is a time of change in women’s artistic gymnastics, though, and the US Classic in Hartford, Connecticut, this weekend is testament to how many more gymnasts are enjoying longer, fuller careers.  

For the first time in history, three women’s Olympic all-around champions, Gabby Douglas, Simone Biles and Sunisa Lee, will compete in the same event as they each vie to return to another Olympics. 

“I love this generation,” said Douglas on Friday. “We’re pushing the boundaries and saying, ‘Hey, you don’t have to be 16 and dominate. You can be in your 20s and still eat.’”

“I missed gymnastics,” said Douglas. “I loved it and it ended rough for me in 2016 so I didn’t want to end on that note. Regardless of the outcome, I want to end on love and joy instead of hating something that I love.”

Her journey since announcing her return last summer has been turbulent to say the least. Douglas withdrew on the eve of February’s planned comeback event, the Winter Cup, citing Covid. 

Her absence meant she was not eligible for any of the numerous international competitions this spring as she had hoped. She instead returned in understated surroundings at the American Classic, a small competition held inside a simple gym in Katy, Texas, on 27 April. It was a difficult day.