Simone Biles Didn’t Think She’d Compete Again Before Golden Gymnastics Comeback

After Olympian Simone Biles completed her first international competition since taking a break two years prior, the gymnast confessed she had reservations about returning to the mat.

By Alexandra Bellusci Oct 09, 2023 10:15 PMTags
Watch: Simone Biles & Jonathan Owens Get Married Again!

Simone Biles stuck the landing once more—despite past reservations.

The Olympian competed in the 2023 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships Oct. 8, where she won titles for both floor exercise and balance beam. Simone also received gold medals for the team competition and all-around. However, the 26-year-old revealed that the match—which came after not competing for two years—almost never happened.

In response to a user's Oct. 8 tweet on X (formerly Twitter), which read, "Remember like five months ago we didn't think Simone would ever compete again," Simone replied with a collection of sad face emojis and the comment, "Real talk I didn't think so either."

Nevertheless, the athlete's return to the mat had a significant impact on her career. The competition, held in Antwerp, Belgium, made her the most decorated gymnast in history, with 37 medals at the Olympics and world championships. And out of the 37 awards, 27 of them are gold.

Simone Biles' 2020 Tokyo Olympics Journey

Simone's win comes two years after a series of "twisties," a mid-air disorientation, caused her to withdraw from various events at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

The gymnast recently shed light on her mindset when it comes to competing once more.

"I think we have to be a little bit more cautious about how we do things," she said during a Sept. 7 appearance on Today. "So everything that we're doing leading up to this next game or whatever is very intentional. We've kind of been playing it on the down-low this time, making sure mentally and physically are both intact. I think it'll be different, but it'll be good."


Naomi Baker/Getty Images

And to see every time Simone proved she is the GOAT, keep reading...

Presidential Medal of Freedom 

Biles was one of 17 people who received the nation's highest civilian honor in 2022.

Going for the Gold

Simone Biles first stunned the world during her participation in the 2013 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Belgium. There, she qualified first in the all-around, second to the vault final, sixth to the uneven bars final, fifth to the balance beam final and first to the floor final, which made her the first American gymnast to qualify to the all-around and all four event finals since 1991. At just 16 years old, Biles became the first Black and seventh American woman to win the world all-around title.

Movin’ On Up

Believe or not, the young athlete has four (!) gymnastic moves named after her. Among them is the double layout with a half twist, which the sports star debuted in her floor routine during the podium training for the 2013 U.S. Classic. Eight years after London Phillips completed it domestically in 2005, Biles was able to successfully nail the skill at the 2013 World Championships, earning the tribute. As of June 2021, only four gymnasts have successfully completed the Biles-on-floor exercise.

Breaking Barriers in History

In 2023, a decade after she won her first world title at age 16, the athlete won her 27th world gold medal at the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships, breaking the record for world medals and Olympic medals (7) combined with a total of 34.

Triple Title Holder

Biles once again proved she was a force to be reckoned with during the 2015 U.S. National Championships by securing her third all-around national title, becoming only the second woman ever to do so, 23 years after athlete Kim Zmeska.

Making Her-story Again

Also in 2015, during the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, Biles ended her performance with an impressive final score of 60.399. With that victory, she became the first woman to win three consecutive all-around titles in World Gymnastics Championships history, bringing her total gold medal count to 10 at the time—also the most for any woman in World Championships history.

Shutting Down Beauty Standards

Biles has never been afraid to address her haters or anyone who has had something to say about her body image. In 2016, the gymnast first took to Twitter to express that she is "comfortable in her own skin." Most recently, in 2020, the athlete again reinforced self-love by releasing a statement declaring that she is "done competing with beauty standards and toxic culture of trolling…because nobody should tell you or I what beauty should or should not look like." Yeah, she stuck that landing. 

Pushing Through The Pain

Biles is also the first female gymnast since Daniela Silivaș in 1988 to win a medal on every event at a single Olympic Games or World Championships, having accomplished this feat during the 2018 World Championships in Doha. Biles helped Team USA secure the number one spot less than 24 hours after going to the hospital due to pain from a kidney stone. The star even took to Twitter at the time to say that the "stone could wait." Talk about pushing all the way through!

Watch Her Move

Another win stemming from the 2018 World Championships: Biles debuted her now-namesake vault, a roundoff, back handspring with half turn entry, front stretched somersault with two twists (yes, it's as astounding as it sounds) at the selection camp. As of June 2021, Biles is the only woman who has performed the Biles vault.

…And Move Some More

Biles followed up her jaw-dropping 2018 move with an impressive balance beam skill. She first started training the double-twisting double-tucked salto backwards dismount off of the beam in 2013, but debuted the stunner at the 2019 World Championships where it was given the rating H, the highest rating of any skill performed on the balance beam. Biles expressed disappointment at the skill being undervalued, but despite the rating controversy, she successfully performed it during qualifications and the Biles dismount was born.

Defying All Odds

Thanks to her outstanding performance during the 2019 World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany, Biles once again broke records by surpassing gymnast Vitaly Scherbo's record 23 World medals by winning her 24th and 25th medals (both gold, of course).

A Woman Focused on Helping Other Women

In April 2021, Biles confirmed that she would be ending her partnership with Nike to begin one with the brand, Athleta. "I felt like it wasn't just about my achievements, it's what I stood for and how they were going to help me use my voice and also be a voice for females and kids," she explained to the Wall Street Journal of the move. "I feel like they also support me, not just as an athlete, but just as an individual outside of the gym and the change that I want to create, which is so refreshing."

The Legacy Continues

In May 2021, the athlete became the first woman to land the Yurchenko double pike on the vault during her first competition in over a year. The new vault was given a preliminary value of 6.6, making it the highest valued vault in women's gymnastics.

Seventh’s Heaven

On June 6, 2021, Biles made history again by becoming the first woman to win a record seventh U.S. senior women's all-around title. "It's really emotional, especially going into my second time doing an Olympic run," Simone said after her victory. "It's really crazy, and I appreciate everyone that's come out to watch and support us, especially after the year we've had."

Representing Herself As The GOAT She Is...Literally

In June 2021, Biles had fans buzzing all over the social media once she debuted a new leotard bedazzled with the image of a goat. "The idea was to hit back at the haters," she told Marie Claire. "[The haters] were joking like, ‘I swear, if she put a goat on her leo, blah, blah, blah.' That would make them so angry. And then I was like, ‘Oh, that's actually a good idea. Let's make the haters hate it, and the fans love it.'"
And like everything else she manages to accomplish with ease, we do love it!

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