Will Simone Biles compete in the next Olympics? After withdrawing herself from the 2021 Tokyo games for her mental health and physical safety, Simone, 25, gave an update on her plans when she stopped by The Late Late Show on Wednesday. “I think, right now, I still have to heal mentally and physically,” she said, adding that she “will be in Paris” for the 2024 Olympics. “I just don’t know at what role, if that is an athlete or an audience member, so we’ll just have to see,” she added.
So, Simone will be in Paris but if she’s on the mat or on the sidelines remains to be seen. Simone spoke about her future soon after the COVID-delayed Olympics (where she took home the Bronze in the balance beam). “I think I have to relish and take this Olympics in and kind of recognize what I’ve done with my career,” she said on Today. “Because after 2016, I didn’t get to do that.” Simone noted that following Tokyo, “there are a lot of things I need to work on internally and mentally.”
Simone withdrew from the individual all-around final to focus on her mental health and to deal with the “twisties,” a mental block that can cause a gymnast to lose their sense of perspective and, as the Washington Post describes it, “they lose control of their bodies as they spin through the air. Sometimes they twist when they hadn’t planned to. Other times they stop midway through.” It’s a condition that puts the athlete’s life in danger, and Simone opted not to risk her health.
“After the performance that I did, I didn’t want to go into the other events, so I thought I would take a step back,” she said in July 2021, following her decision to withdraw. “I have to focus on my mental health and not jeopardize my health and well-being.”
“There’s more to life than just gymnastics,” she added. “It’s very unfortunate that it has to happen at this stage because I definitely wanted this Olympics to go a little better, but again, we’ll take it one day at a time and we’re going to see how the rest goes. Physically, I feel good. I’m in shape. Emotionally, that kind of varies on the time and moment.”
Simone’s main plan may not be the Olympic rings, but her wedding rings. Her boyfriend, Jonathan Owens, proposed in February, and she said it was “the easiest Yes” ever. “I don’t think I’ll be a bridezilla because I’m making sure I know exactly what I want,” she said one week after the proposal, revealing that wedding planning was already underway. “Also I’ll definitely hire a planner [because] between this & building a house, our hands are full.”