When Simone Biles won a bronze medal on the beam on Tuesday, many believed she had ended her Olympic career with a medal. After all, she will be 27 before the 2024 Summer Games in Paris, and elite gymnasts tend to retire at a younger age.
So it seemed obvious that Biles’ decorated Olympic career was over.
Not so fast. In an interview with Hoda Kotb on NBC’s “TODAY” show, Biles said she is yet to make a decision about her Olympic future. It “leaves the door open” to a potential return to Olympic action at the Paris Olympics in three years.
“I think I have to savor and participate in these Olympics, and kind of recognize what I’ve done with my career because after 2016 I couldn’t do it,” Biles said. “Life goes by so fast and now I have a greater appreciation for life after everything that has happened in the past five years.”
That doesn’t guarantee a comeback by any means, but at least Biles doesn’t rule out the possibility of a final shot at the Olympics.
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Biles is the greatest gymnast of all time. If she wants to return to the Olympics, Team USA would almost certainly include her in the squad – if she remains healthy. She won a total of seven medals at the Olympics. It’s tied for the most in US history with Shannon Miller. She also won the all-around gymnastics final with an Olympic record of 1,759 points over teammate Aly Raisman in 2016.
Beyond that, she is the most decorated gymnast of all time; she has four eponymous movements in the sport of gymnastics; the list goes on.
That said, Biles admitted that she had struggled at times during the Olympics and found them “very overwhelming.” As she said it was “like the weight of the world on [her] shoulders.”
Still, she was happy with the way the event unfolded, even despite her mental health issues and the “twisties.” But now she must determine whether she wants to step back through that pressure cooker on the world stage in 2024.
“It ended on a high note, so I’m very grateful and grateful for it,” Biles said. “But I still feel like we’re coming home and there’s still a lot I have to work on internally and mentally to feel like I’ve been successful here.”