Two of gymnastics’ brightest stars are returning to action a year before the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.
The U.S. Classic is the final qualifying competition before the national championships, and it will feature top gymnasts like Simone Biles and Sunisa Lee. Hoffman Estates, a western suburb of Chicago, will host the gathering on August 5.
The most decorated gymnast in U.S. history, Biles hasn’t competed since the women’s team finals at the Tokyo Olympics two summers ago, when she withdrew due to mental health issues. She also dropped out of the individual all-around competition, citing “the twisties” (a condition where gymnasts lose their sense of direction while in the air) as the reason.
In the end, the United States earned silver as a team, and “Suni” Lee, a colleague of Biles’, won the gold medal in the individual all-around competition.
After winning the all-around title in Rio in 2016, Biles was arguably the most advertised American athlete in the lead-up to the Tokyo Games. Due to the epidemic, the 2020 Olympics were pushed back a year, and Biles struggled with the extra year of preparation. “”I’m not sure how I feel at the moment”. “I just feel like I have to go home and work on myself and be OK with what’s happened,” she said after winning bronze on the beam.
Her decision to leave the competition sparked discussions about athlete burnout and mental health around the world. Before the Olympics, Biles “felt the weight of the world” on her shoulders.
Biles has been quite busy outside of the gym ever since. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in December and announced her marriage to NFL safety Jonathan Owens in April of this year.
In January, Biles still considered it “up in the air” if she would compete again.