Simone Biles, the renowned U.S. gymnast, is set to make a highly anticipated comeback to competition at the U.S. Classic outside Chicago in early August. This marks her first event since the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where she made headlines by prioritizing her mental health and withdrawing from multiple events. In this blog post, we will explore Biles’ journey, her impact on the importance of athletes’ well-being, and her upcoming return to the gymnastics arena.
During the Tokyo Olympics, Biles faced immense pressure as one of the most decorated gymnasts in history. However, she chose to prioritize her mental health and withdrew from several events due to experiencing “the twisties,” a term used in gymnastics to describe a loss of spatial awareness while in the air. Despite this setback, Biles made a triumphant return for the balance beam final, winning a bronze medal and tying Shannon Miller’s record for the most Olympic medals won by an American female gymnast.
Biles’ decision to prioritize her mental health sparked a significant conversation about the well-being of athletes. By choosing to step back and focus on her mental well-being, she highlighted the need for athletes to have the space and support to address their mental health concerns. Biles’ advocacy has brought attention to the importance of creating a supportive environment for athletes and ensuring their overall well-being.
After the Tokyo Olympics, Biles wisely decided to take an extended break from gymnastics. The past two years have been a whirlwind for her, with various commitments and accomplishments. Taking time off allows her to recharge and rejuvenate, both physically and mentally. By doing so, Biles demonstrates the importance of rest and recovery in maintaining a long and successful career in sports.
Apart from her accomplishments in gymnastics, Biles recently married Jonathan Owens, an NFL player with the Green Bay Packers. This personal milestone adds to the excitement surrounding her life outside of the sport. Biles, at the age of 26, has become a vocal advocate for athletes’ mental health and has emerged as an influential figure in the sports world.
The U.S. Classic holds a prominent position on USA Gymnastics’ annual calendar and serves as a warm-up event for the national championships. Biles’ return to the U.S. Classic is reminiscent of her comeback in 2018 after a two-year hiatus. Back then, she proved her dominance in the sport and set the stage for subsequent victories, including world all-around championships and national titles. This time around, Biles seems to be adopting a different approach, focusing more on her personal life and taking a more subdued stance leading up to the Paris Games in 2024.
In addition to Biles’ return, another gymnast to watch at the U.S. Classic is Sunisa Lee. Lee claimed gold in the all-around final at the Tokyo Olympics and aims to defend her title in Paris 2024. She also aims to pursue gold in her signature event, the uneven bars. Lee’s success has brought attention to collegiate gymnastics, and her journey serves as an inspiration for aspiring gymnasts.
The gymnastics world eagerly awaits Simone Biles’ return to competition at the U.S. Classic, her first meet since the Tokyo Olympics. Biles’ decision to prioritize her mental health has brought much-needed attention to the well-being of athletes and the need for a supportive environment. Her resilience, determination, and advocacy make her an influential figure in sports. As Biles and other gymnasts take to the arena, the U.S. Classic promises to be a thrilling event, setting the stage for upcoming national championships and paving the way for the athletes’ journey towards the Paris 2024 Olympics.