Celebrating Simone Biles :: She’s Back!
After a two-year hiatus, the GOAT in the world of gymnastics is back and dare we say, better than ever. After a case of the ‘twisties’ prompted Simone Biles to pull out of the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, everyone stopped and took a breath.
“I thought I could figure it out on my own, but that’s sometimes not the case. And that’s not something you should feel guilty or ashamed of.”
As a former gymnast, my heart is still with this sport. It shaped who I am today, how I care for my body, and left me with core memories that I am forever thankful for. To this day, I still keep up with my coaches. I am continually impressed with the progression of gymnastics and the routines performed. Year after year, gymnasts continue to up the ante with their skills. The bar routine that earned Nadia Comaneci the first perfect 10 ever can be performed by gymnasts across the country today.
And for those unfamiliar, gymnastics is a TOUGH sport. It is physically and emotionally taxing, and you push yourself to your limit every day. USA gymnastics has faced scrutiny in recent years, namely due to the Dr. Larry Nassar scandal, of whom Biles was a victim. She bravely spoke out against him along with a number of other gymnasts, and it really demonstrated the unbelievable stress these women faced. For someone like Simone to step down from the Olympics and publicly state that she was not well…is well, huge. It is so admirable for someone of her stature to not only admit this, but to share it with the world. A positive decision she made for herself reverberated into a positive message for women and girls around the world. It’s ok to not be ok. Futhermore, if there is any doubt in your mind that the Tokyo Olympics were a publicity stunt or that the ‘twisties’ are not real, please educate yourself on the condition. Suggesting that an elite athlete who has trained and prepared for hundreds of hours in the gym would intentionally “quit” when the stakes are so high is demeaning to women everywhere. What Simone did in Tokyo was brave. Period.
When Simone announced she was returning, I couldn’t wait to tune in. I knew what most of the world undoubtedly knew – she was going to come back STRONG. This is a woman who has 7 Olympic medals, 25 world medals, 7 U.S. All-Around titles and 4 named skills in the code of points. By standards of the sport, she’s considered ‘older’ at the ripe age of 26. The expectations of females in gymnastics have thankfully shifted over the years from super young and rail thin, to strong and powerful. And powerful is the only way I can describe Simone Biles. In her first event since 2021, she not only won the All-Around, but she placed 5 points ahead of second place finisher Leanne Wong. If you haven’t seen her vault from the Core Hydration Classic earlier this month, it’s unbelievable. To put it into words, no female athlete has ever performed this skill on the vault before. The Yurchenko double pike, considered the hardest women’s vault in the world, will likely be named after her once she performs it in an international competition. Simone does two and a half rotations in the air, which requires an insane amount of speed and power. She gets so much height in this vault it’s unfathomable, and still manages to stick the landing after being 15 feet in the air. Put simply, it’s groundbreaking.
All eyes will be on Simone August 24-27, as she competes in the Xfinity U.S. Gymnastics Championships. I personally cannot wait to see what lies ahead for her, most likely a run for gold in France. All the while holding true to who she is and putting herself first. Simone, we’re rooting for you.
“We also have to focus on ourselves, because at the end of the day, we’re human, too. We have to protect our mind and our body, rather than just go out there and do what the world wants us to do.”