Simone Biles has returned. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics have been postponed due to the pandemic, but the world-renowned gymnast wants to compete again at the U.S. Classic outside of Chicago in early August.
Team USA said on Wednesday, June 28, 2023, Biles a seven-time Olympic medalist will compete in the single-day competition on August 5 at Hoffman Estates’ NOW Arena.
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After pulling out of five of the six finals at the Tokyo Games Biles spent the majority of the previous two years away from competitive gymnastics. At the time, the action had a significant impact on how people talked about athletes’ mental health.
After qualifying, she was unable to compete in the floor exercise and all-around vault finals due to “the twisties” a risky gymnastics phenomenon that indicates a performer’s impaired spatial awareness when in the air.
After watching her country win the team silver, Biles returned to the balancing beam final to take home a bronze. With that performance, she tied Shannon Miller’s record for the most Olympic medals won by an American female gymnast with seven throughout her career.
Biles stated that she was “keeping the door open” for a potential comeback at the 2024 Olympics after the final routine. She began by saying that she needed some time to process all that had happened including her aunt’s trἀgic deἀth during the Tokyo Games.
“I think I have to relish and take this Olympics in and kind of recognize what I’ve done with my career because after 2016, I didn’t get to do that. Life just happens so quickly and now I have a greater appreciation for life after everything that’s happened in the last five years.”
She made a brief mention of the Olympics in Paris in 2024 but only after taking a long hiatus. It’s been something of a whirlwind these past two years. She performed as the main act on her post-Olympic tour in the fall of 2021 and wed former NFL star Jonathan Owens this spring.
Jonathan Owens is currently signed with the Green Bay Packers. The 26-year-old Biles has additionally become one of the most outspoken supporters of athletes having a place to safeguard their mental health as a result of her position in Japan which brought attention to the problem.
Although opinions on the matter are always changing, Biles’ return to the sport she controlled for almost ten years signals a competitor who wants to go on her own terms.
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