Simone Biles Admits She Was Reluctant to ‘Compete Again’ in Gymnastics in Candid Interview

The world’s most decorated gymnast described how ‘amazing’ it felt to return to competition two years after experiencing the twisties at the Tokyo Olympics. 

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Simone Biles
Image Credit: Kenjiro Matsuo/AFLO/Shutterstock

Simone Biles is reflecting on her impressive return to competitive gymnastics two years after the Tokyo Olympic Games. During a recent interview with PEOPLE, the world’s most decorated gymnast, 26, admitted that she “never” thought she’d compete again. 

“It honestly feels amazing to return to competition; I never thought I would compete again, so this is a blessing,” Simone told the outlet. “My favorite moment has been competing alongside my WCC teammates.” 

Two months ago, the athlete — known as the G.O.A.T of the sport — wowed fans when she competed in the World Championships. Simone executed a flawless beam and floor routine, winning gold medals and helping Team USA win its seventh gold medal. Additionally, after she accomplished the highly difficult Yurchenko double pike on vault, the move was renamed the “Biles II.” 

“The first time I got a skill named after me was in this arena [and] 10 years later, I got my fifth skills named,” the Texas resident captioned an Instagram post in October. “I’m speechless. I’m honored. I’m excited, and I’m blessed! Doing it for the little girl who fell in love with the sport!!!!!” 

Simone Biles
Kenjiro Matsuo/AFLO/Shutterstock

Simone’s incredible feat comes two years after she experienced “the twisties” at the 2020 Olympics, which were held over the summer of 2021 after being rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fans were stunned to see Simone suffer a few setbacks during the games. As a result, she withdrew from several finals but still performed her beam routine, winning a bronze medal for the accomplishment. 

While reflecting on the mental block she experienced during the games, Simone explained on TODAY that the bronze medal was the most meaningful recognition she had received. 

“It means more than all of the golds because I pushed through so much the last five years and the last week while I’ve even been here,” the artistic gymnast noted, before pointing out that she “didn’t really care about the outcome. I was just happy that I made the routine and that I got to compete one more time.”

After facing harsh comments from the public over her decision to withdraw, Simone acknowledged how hurt she felt that people accused her of quitting. 

“At the end of the day, we’re not just athletes or entertainment; we’re human, too,” she said. “We have real emotions, and sometimes, they don’t realize that we have things going on behind the scenes that affect us whenever we go out and compete.”