According to AP News, Simone Biles will compete in the US Classic for the first time since the pandemic affected the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The seven-time Olympic medalist and 2016 Olympic champion will compete on August 5 in Hoffman Estates’ NOW Arena, according to USA Gymnastics.
The U.S. Classic is one of the biggest tournaments on USA Gymnastics’ annual calendar, and it frequently serves as a warm-up for the national championships, which will be held in San Jose this year.
This would be Simone’s first competition since the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, when she sparked global notice of athletes’ challenges with mental health.
Biles has taken some time off in the last two years after battling with the “twisties,” a gymnastics word for an athlete having a mental block in mid-air that makes it impossible to finish a move.
According to Sports Illustrated, it is exceedingly dangerous for competitors to complete a variety of difficult feats in the air since any gymnast experiencing a lack of spatial awareness in mid-air puts themselves in danger.
Simone’s decision to withdraw from the team finals stunned the gymnastics world. According to NBC News, she said that the emotional toll of the Tokyo Games, rather than a medical injury, prompted her choice.
At the 2016 Rio Olympics, the 26-year-old artistic gymnast was a surprise success, winning gold in the vault, floor exercise, team all-around, and individual all-around, as well as bronze on the balance beam.
Simone’s return to the sport she dominated for nearly 10 years signals an athlete who wants to depart on her own terms, even though the debate over the topic is always shifting.
According to ABC 7, after her record-breaking performance at the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016, she used the U.S. Classic as a comeback tournament in 2018.
With the Paris Games less than a year away, AP News reports that Simone looks to be taking a more cautious posture. She has mostly avoided addressing gymnastics on her numerous social media sites, instead emphasizing facts about her personal life.
Simone is the most decorated gymnast of all time, having won 25 world championship medals. Last year, President Joe Biden awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, making her the youngest recipient of the nation’s highest civilian distinction at the age of 25.