Simone Biles has made a triumphant return to the competition floor after taking two years off to prioritize both her physical and mental health.
The 26-year-old superstar pulled an incredible performance at the US Classic in Chicago, proving she certainly still has her chops. Biles won with an overall score of 59.100 points, five points ahead of runner-up Leanne Wong. She earned 14.0 on the uneven bars, 14.9 on the floor, 14.8 on the balance beam, and a show-stopping 15.4 in the vault. Biles’ scores earned her first place in each category except for uneven bars, where she achieved third.
Her wonderful performance has earned Biles a position at the US National Championships which begin on the 24th of August. Biles has made it clear that she is aiming to go all the way to Worlds in October. She is yet to state whether she will appear at the Paris Olympics in 2026.
Biles last competed in Tokyo, during the 2021 Olympic Games. She was forced to leave the games early, forfeiting five of her six finals, due to what she described as “the twisties.” The twisties refer to a mental block experienced by gymnastics that forces them to lose their sense of space whilst in the air. For obvious reasons, the phenomenon is incredibly dangerous.
At that time, the gymnast stated that "I have to focus on my mental health,” and, “we have to protect our minds and our bodies and not just go out and do what the world wants us to do.”
Biles has become a household name throughout her career, with seven Olympic medals, four of which are gold, and dozens of accolades under her belt. She has become notorious for regularly performing routines no other gymnasts dare try.
The Illinois stadium was filled to the brim with a sold-out crowd, waving hand-made posters in support of Biles. She has received a continuous flow of support for her honesty on mental health since 2021 and has been widely celebrated for her advocacy.
When asked why she chose to return to the sport Biles claimed, “I always kind of knew as soon as everything that happened in Tokyo. So, this time I’m doing it for me, I worked a lot on myself, and I believe in myself a little bit more, just coming back out here and starting the first steps again.”"It just makes my heart warm because it's nice to come out here and have all that support, especially in a time like this where I was nervous to compete again."
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