Simone Biles is back.
The gymnastics superstar plans to return to compete at the US Classic outside Chicago in early August, her first event since the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
USA Gymnastics announced Wednesday that Biles, a seven-time Olympic medalist and 2016 Olympic champion, is part of the women’s field for the one-day event scheduled for Aug. 5 at NOW Arena in Hoffman Estates.
Biles has taken most of the past two years off following his eventful time in Japan, where his decision to withdraw from multiple events to focus on his mental health shifted the focus from the games themselves to the general well-being of the athletes. .
She served as a cheerleader when her American teammates won the team’s silver medal and then sat out the all-around, vault, and floor finals she had qualified for while dealing with what are known as “the twisties.” “, a gymnastics term for when an athlete loses. spatial awareness of him when they are in the air.
Biles returned for the balance beam final, where she won a bronze medal that tied Shannon Miller’s record for most Olympic medals by an American gymnast. She hinted at the 2024 Paris Olympics, but only after taking a long break.
The last two years have been something of a whirlwind. She headlined her post-Olympic tour in the fall of 2021 and married NFL player Jonathan Owens, now a defensive back for the Green Bay Packers, this spring.
Biles, 26, has also become one of the most vocal advocates for athletes finding space to protect their mental health after her stand in Japan put the issue front and center. While the conversation on the subject is constantly evolving, Biles’s return to the sport she’s dominated for nearly a decade suggests an athlete who wants to get out of it on her own terms.
The US Classic is one of the main events on the annual USA Gymnastics calendar and usually serves as a warm-up of sorts for the national championships, this year scheduled for late August in San Jose.
Biles used the Clásico as his comeback meeting in 2018 following a two-year hiatus following his record-breaking medal run in Rio de Janeiro. It took him two hours to prove that she was still the gold standard in his sport, setting the stage for another spectacular run that included two more world all-around championships in 2018 and 2019 and three more national titles.
Things could be different this time, in more ways than one.
Biles was in the spotlight during her run-up to Tokyo, becoming in many ways the face of the US Olympic movement. She seems to be taking a more moderate approach with the Paris Games a year from now. He has kept his various social media channels almost entirely gym-free, instead using them to highlight snippets of his personal life.
And for the first time since he rose to stardom as a teenager in 2013, Biles won’t have to shoulder the burden of being the flag bearer for the American show.
Sunisa Lee, who won gold in the all-around final in Tokyo, will also be at the US Classic after spending two years competing at Auburn, where she helped spearhead a massive surge in interest in collegiate gymnastics.
Lee missed the second half of his sophomore year with the Tigers while dealing with health issues, but is thinking of returning to the Olympics not to defend his all-around title, but to try for another shot at gold on the uneven bars, his event. characteristic. She ranked third in Tokyo bars, due in large part to the attention she received after becoming the fifth consecutive American woman to win the Olympic title.
Associated Press report.
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