Update, 7/7/23 at 12:49 p.m.:
Simone Biles broke her silence after USA Gymnastics confirmed that she’s returning to competition next month in the U.S. Classic.
“Sorry I’ve been a little MIA since the announcement,” the Olympic champion, 26, tweeted on Wednesday, July 5. “I’m overwhelmed with all of your messages, support & love! excited to get back out on the competition floor! XOXO.”
Biles didn’t specify what her participation in the U.S. Classic could mean for the 2024 Olympics, but her fans are certainly hopeful that she’ll try for more medals. “BILES 👏 IS 👏 BACK 👏 ,” Team USA tweeted in June.
Original story continues below.
Simone Biles is heading back into competition for the first time in nearly two years.
The Olympic gold medalist, 26, will participate in the U.S. Classic, which takes place on Saturday, August 5, near Chicago. USA Gymnastics announced on Wednesday, June 28, that Biles is part of the women’s field for the event, which will be held at the NOW Arena in the suburb Hoffman Estates.
The event will mark Biles’ first appearance in competition since July 2021, when she withdrew from the team final at the Tokyo Olympics after developing “the twisties,” which is a phenomenon gymnasts experience when they lose control of their bodies while spinning through the air.
“I didn’t have a bad performance & quit,” Biles wrote via Instagram after her exit made headlines. “I’ve had plenty of bad performances throughout my career and finished the competition. I simply got so lost [that] my safety was at risk as well as a team medal.”
Biles made the decision to exit the team final after her vault rotation, during which she slipped and landed on her knees. Her teammates — Suni Lee, Jordan Chiles and Grace McCallum — went on to win the silver medal in the team all-around competition.
Biles later withdrew from the individual all-around, floor exercise, vault and uneven bars finals but competed in the balance beam final, winning bronze. Lee, 20, won gold in the individual all-around and bronze in the uneven bars, while Jade Carey took home the gold for her floor exercise and MyKayla Skinner won silver for the vault.
Last year, Biles hinted that she wasn’t ready to hang up her leotard despite the difficulties she faced in Tokyo.
“Technically, if you would ask anybody in the U.S. that looks at an American gymnast, I’m probably already aged out, but I really feel like leading up to Tokyo, I was hitting my prime,” she told USA Today in March 2022. “Truly, I thought in 2016, at 19 years old, I had peaked. And whenever I came back to the sport, I was like, ‘There’s no way I’m going to get even better than I was because somebody told me that was the best I was going to get.'”
She went on to say that she has “no regrets” about taking some time off, but she still wants to see what she can do. “You just have to push out those negative views and just keep pushing,” she explained. “I want to see how much I’m capable of, how talented I can be. And that’s why I came back [for 2020], just to not have any regrets if I look back in 10 years. So, now I can really say I have no regrets, but maybe I might push it a little bit more to see.”
During the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Biles won four gold medals, triumphing in the team all-around, individual all-around, floor exercise and vault. She also took home a bronze medal in balance beam that year.
Her bronze and silver medals at the 2020 Olympics brought her to a total of seven, tying her with Shannon Miller for the most Olympic medals won by an American gymnast. With 25 World Championship medals, she is the most decorated gymnast in the history of the Gymnastics World Championships. Last year, President Joe Biden awarded her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.