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Olympic gymnast comes out of 9-year retirement to compete in US Classic after having two kids and ahead of her 33rd birthday

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Chellsie Memmel
Chellsie Memmel (center) is the 2005 world all-around champion and a 2008 Olympic Games silver medalist. William West/Getty Images
  • Chellsie Memmel, 32, competed in the US Classic after retiring in 2012 and having two children.

  • Memmel competed in two events: vault and balance beam.

  • She is the 2005 world all-around champion and a 2008 Olympic Games silver medalist.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Chellsie Memmel has officially returned to professional gymnastics.

The 32-year-old champion stepped out of retirement for the first time in nine years on Saturday, competing against athletes born as recently as 2005, The Wall Street Journal reported. She competed in two events: vault and balance beam.

Memmel completed a full-twisting Yurchenko on the vault - a move that's receiving attention after Simone Biles nailed a Yurchenko double pike on Saturday. Memmel performed well on the balance beam but slipped off during an Arabian somersault. She quickly got back on the beam and finished the performance, The Journal reported.

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"I was just overwhelmingly happy that it went okay today," Memmel told the publication. "Obviously beam I would have liked to have gone better, but I'm still happy with everything that I did and happy that I was out on the floor, that I put myself out there, to even get to this point, to try this again, to put on a leo and to register for a competition. So I'm not going to hold my joy back."

Although she didn't qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, her petition to compete at the national championship has already been approved, USA Today reported.

Memmel became well-known for being the 2005 world all-around champion and a 2008 Olympic Games silver medalist. She retired from gymnastics in 2012 before marrying Kory Maier and having two children.

Following her competition, fellow gymnast Nastia Liukin applauded Memmel for returning to the sport and being "inspiring."

"SO incredibly proud of you Chel," Liukin tweeted. "You are inspiring the entire world - every generation - showing that age is truly just a number AND your true love and passion for the sport."

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USA Today reported that Memmel began toying with the idea of a comeback about a year and a half ago. Memmel, a gymnastics judge and coach, attempted a few tricks and was shocked to discover how easily she could still perform them.

She began taking videos of her practice and sharing them online, where fans offered praise and support.

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"It's showing you can work hard and go for something and it doesn't matter when you do it or if someone says you're too old to be doing that or why? Why would you even go back and try," Memmel told USA Today. "Why not? Why can't we see what our bodies are still capable of doing?'"

After her US Classic vault performance, Memmel hugged her father and former coach, Andy.

Memmel said, "I do sometimes ask, 'What have I gotten myself into?' But I'm still enjoying it, I'm still having fun," USA Today reported. "Sometimes I feel like a broken record, but that's what it's been about. It's never been about trying to prove anything."

She added: "The biggest thing for me is don't be afraid to go after something, to set a goal. Even setting a crazy goal and trying to make it happen."

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