US gymnastics star Simone Biles has revealed she is “keeping the door open” for the Paris Olympics in 2024 after suffering from mental health problems for much of Tokyo 2020.
Biles won four gold medals at Rio in 2016 and is widely considered the best gymnast of all time, but withdrew from five events at this year’s Games after admitting she was suffering with a condition called the ‘twisties’.
This causes gymnasts to feel as though they’re lost in the air and Biles says this made her feel scared of seriously injuring herself.
Speaking to the Today show, the gymnast stressed that she was proud of herself for having the courage to pull out the competition –– something she would not have been able to do a few years ago.
“I thought that was brave of me because if you would have asked me a couple of years ago, I would have kept pushing through,” she said.
“But I'm at the age now where I kind of control my mental wellbeing and I knew that it was the best decision for the team and myself.”
For Biles, the hardest thing about withdrawing was the feeling that she’d given up on five years of intense preparation and the dream of competing at a second Olympics.
“It was hard working five years for a dream and just having to give it up. It was not easy at all... But I also had to make that decision for the team because they worked so hard and I couldn't lose a medal for those girls.”
While she was unable to defend a number of her titles from Rio, the American star did manage to take part in the beam and won a bronze medal. It was her second medal of these Games and seventh in total.
And the 24-year-old is not ruling out an appearance at Paris 2024 either, stressing that she is “keeping the door open.” Most gymnasts rarely compete in two Olympics let alone three, but if anyone is capable it’s Biles.
By then, Biles will be 27 years old. Yet, before she takes the time to think more about the decision, the star admits she ‘needs a good break’ and some sort of ‘vacation.’
In truth, after everything she’s gone through these Games and indeed the build-up, it’s the very least she deserves.