Gymnastics-Olympic champion Douglas returns after eight-year absence

FILE PHOTO: 2017 Kids Choice Sport Awards – Arrivals – Los Angeles, California, U.S., 13/07/2017 - Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon/File photo

(Reuters) - Three-times Olympic gold medallist Gabby Douglas returned to competition for the first time in eight years at the American Classic and secured qualification for the U.S. Championships despite a slightly rusty performance.

The 2012 Olympics all-around individual and team champion, who had not competed since the 2016 Rio Games after taking time away to focus on her mental health, is looking to mount a comeback ahead of this year's Paris Olympics.

She placed 10th in the all-around in Katy, Texas, on Saturday, recording a score of 50.65 after errors on the floor and bars.

However, her promising showing in the vault and the balance beam proved enough to qualify for next month's U.S. Championships in those events.

The 28-year-old returned to training last year hoping to make the squad for Paris, but was forced to delay her return to competition earlier this year due to a bout of COVID-19.

The American Classic was won by Tokyo Olympics floor champion Jade Carey.

(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Tom Hogue)

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