It’s almost like Simone Biles never even took a break from gymnastics. Over the weekend, Biles handily won the U.S. Classic in a triumphant return to the sport after a two-year break and withdrawing from the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.
Biles “finished the competition with a Yurchenko double pike, a vault not contemplated, much less competed, before Biles introduced it in 2021. She took a step to the side, out of bounds. It hardly mattered: It still received the highest score of the competition,” as The New York Times aptly quips.
Typically the U.S. Classic is “a low-key qualification meet for the national championships, “but that all changed this year when Biles entered the fray.
Watching Biles fly and flip in the air, some said that “[i]t looked like a weight had been lifted off her shoulders.”
Afterward, Biles stated, “Did it look like I was having fun? Oh thank God…I thought I was going to (expletive) bricks, but that’s good.”
“I feel really good about where I am right now, mentally and physically,” Biles added, but ever the perfectionist stating, “I still think there are some things to work on, (mistakes) throughout the night in my routines. But for the first meet back, I would say it went pretty well.”
“Well” might not be the best adjective in this situation. Biles truly dominated the competition, winning by 5 points, atypical in the sport, but one of Biles’ signatures. Of note, the “margin between first and second was about the same as the margin between second and 17th.”
2008 Olympic team gymnast Sam Peszek turned NBC commentator said, “I competed at a high level, and watching her do this sport – it just amazes me.”
It’s been 732 days since Biles shared with the world that “she was suffering from the ‘twisties’ – a sudden inability to sense and understand her body positioning while twisting through the air,” where she then took a self-imposed and much needed mental health break.
“It was like a mental injury,” Biles explained, “So something like that, with the proper work and the proper help, I knew I could come back and hopefully have a shot.”
Biles conceded that she does “still get a little bit nervous, but I think it’s just subconscious,” continuing, “Other than that, I know my body is capable and prepared and all of that stuff, so I just have to trust my training.”
Talk about bridal bliss! The newlywed is reveling in her accomplishments, and it is evident that Biles is in the arena because that’s what she wants to do. Up next for Biles are the national championships in San Jose, CA. And after that, maybe even the next summer Olympic Games in Paris?
But Biles isn’t planning that far ahead, saying “Right now, I think I should just embrace what happened today…I know everybody is just like — 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.”