Simone Biles Is Ready to Return to Competitive Gymnastics After Olympics Exit

Lifestyle

Simone Biles is set to return to competitive gymnastics for the first time in nearly two years after she withdrew from some events at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

USA Gymnastics announced that Biles would compete at the U.S. Classic, which will take place Aug. 4 and 5 outside of Chicago. The U.S. Classic is an annual summer event that is largely seen as a warm-up to the USA Gymnastics National Championships, held later in the month. 

Biles has won the senior women’s competition at the U.S. Classic five times, including the most recent competition she participated in, in 2021. One of those wins, in 2018, similarly marked a major return for Biles, who spent two years out of competition after winning four gold medals at the 2016 Olympics. 

Biles’ return this time around is arguably much more significant, considering the circumstances around her withdrawal from the Tokyo Olympics. At the time, Biles was grappling with “the twisties,” a disorienting condition that drastically throws off a gymnast’s rhythm, balance, and spatial awareness. She also later revealed that the lingering cloud hanging over USA Gymnastics from the Larry Nasser sex abuse scandal had impacted her mental health in Tokyo. 

“Over the years, after suppressing so many emotions and putting up a front on a global scene, I think all of that came to light,” Biles told Today in Oct. 2021, a few months after the Tokyo Olympics. “My body and my mind allowed me to suppress all of that stuff for so many years, for as long as it could take, and as soon as we stepped on the Olympic scene, it just decided it couldn’t do it anymore and it cracked.”

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Despite withdrawing from most events, Biles did return for the individual balance beam final and won a bronze medal. She also received a silver medal for the women’s team competition. 

While competing in the U.S. Classic certainly suggests Biles is ready to return to competitive gymnastics, she’s yet to firmly state whether or not she’ll be involved in the 2024 Olympics in Paris. Speaking at an event earlier this year, Biles said, “Obviously, mental health comes first. I’m still in therapy and I’m still doing everything so that I can be the best version of myself. So I’ll be in Paris, but don’t know if that is on the floor with those girls or in the stands just cheering.”

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