Simone Biles is only 26 and has just made a comeback to gymnastics after an enforced two-year hiatus, yet she is already undeniably the sport’s greatest ever.
Biles is the most decorated gymnast in history, with 25 world championship medals. She made a jaw-dropping comeback last weekend, securing first place overall since the Tokyo Olympics episode. Loved up in gymnastics again and loved up in marriage too.
At the NOW Arena, in Illinois, Biles wrapped up the day with an all-around score of 59.100. After the 2023 US Nationals Camp, she once again showed off her signature Yurchenko double pike on the vault, sporting a leotard with black and white sequins.
The 4ft 8in superstar topped the all-around events by dominating the floor exercise (14.900) and balance beam (14.800), finishing five points ahead of the runner-up overall. Her new husband, Jonathan Owens could not be with Simone as he was on NFL duty. The Green Bay Packers safety was signing a new contract just days after his wedding in May to the 4-time Olympic champion. The deal included the terms of rigorous training at Green Bay Packers stadium in Wisconsin meaning watching his new wife live was not possible.
Biles often engages with her 6.8 million followers on Instagram and recently, when asked about her long-distance wedding, she posted a long message about the lack of quality time they spend together. The Owens resorted to using face-timing and other forms of virtual contact.
Biles has admitted: “Long distance is tough and both being professional athletes is hard….for our schedules.”
The last time Biles competed was at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. She prematurely withdrew following a decision made to “focus on her mental health,” a statement by USA Gymnastics said then. She was suffering from the ‘twisties’ – when a gymnast loses orientation in mid-air.
Thankfully, Biles has overcome the twisties. And the motivation behind her comeback is “obvious,” she said. At the Tokyo Olympics she was expected to win up to five gold medals, she instead withdrew from five finals, including the team competition after performing on just one apparatus. The Paris Olympics next year is the obvious goal to redress those setbacks. Biles has still not fulfilled her potential, believing she can achieve more. Pressure from all sides is constant: “When you get married, they ask you when you’re having a baby. You come to Classics, they’re asking you about the Olympics. I think we’re just trying to take it one step at a time.”