Simone Biles only returned from her troubled Tokyo Olympics a matter of days ago – but it looks as though the gymnast has wasted very little time in getting back to her training regimen.
The 24-year-old was seen making her way to her gymnastics training center in Spring, Texas, on Monday, looking ready to work up a sweat in a pair of black leggings, white sneakers and a beige sweater.
Her appearance at the World Champions Centre – which is run by her parents, Nellie and Ron, and is home to her coaches, Cecile and Laurent Landi – comes just days after Biles touched down in Texas after the 2020 Olympics, where she dropped out of five event finals amid struggles with her mental health.
Biles returned to competition in time for the balance beam final, and ended up winning a bronze medal, however her decision to withdraw from multiple events sparked furious speculation about whether or not she will continue training for the Paris 2024 Olympics, where she would get another shot at gold medal glory.
Thus far, the gymnast has remained fairly tight-lipped on the subject, although she did concede to the Today show’s Hoda Kotb last week that she is ‘leaving the door open’ to the Paris Games, by which point she will be 27 years old and likely the oldest gymnast competing for Team USA.
Getting ready for 2024? Simone Biles was pictured making her way to her gym in Texas on Monday, just a few days after traveling home from her trouble Tokyo Olympics
Ready for anything: The 24-year-old certainly looked the part of the superstar gymnast in a pair of black leggings, white sneakers, and a beige sweater
There she goes: She was seen making her way inside the World Champions Centre in Spring, Texas, which is owned by her parents Ron and Nellie Biles
What next? After a difficult time in Tokyo, where she dropped out of five event finals to ‘focus on her mental health’, Biles said she was ‘leaving the door open’ for the Paris Games
Biles’ trip to visit the World Champions Centre this week will no doubt add further fuel to the interest in her Olympic future – and perhaps offers the strongest hint yet that the gymnastics GOAT is already plotting her return to elite competition.
Shortly after her bronze medal win on balance beam last week, Biles appeared on the Today show and was asked about her plans for Paris 2024, and whether another Olympics is something that she would ever consider.
Despite her struggles in Tokyo, Biles confessed that she is still considering pushing for a spot on Team USA’s Paris 2024 team, admitting that she is ‘keeping the door open’ for a return in three years, although she noted that she needs to focus on her ‘mental wellbeing’ before she can make a decision.
Biles first revealed that she was battling mental health issues when she made the shock decision to pull out of the team final after just one event – the vault – on which she balked in mid-air after getting ‘lost’ during a skill.
Her withdrawal from the team final – and her subsequent decision to pull out of the all-around, uneven bars, vault, and floor exercise events – sparked a furious debate online and in the media, with some accusing the gymnast of ‘quitting’ and ‘abandoning’ her team.
Trouble: During the Olympics, Biles struggled with a mental condition known as the ‘twisties’ which causes gymnasts to feel as though they are ‘lost in the air’
Surprise: Biles stunned spectators when she fumbled on her vault – which is usually one of her strongest events – and she later revealed it was the result of the ‘petrifying’ twisties
Schedule: It may be that Biles was visiting her gym in order to train for her upcoming Gold Over America Tour (GOAT), which will see her visiting 35 cities across the US
However, Biles has repeatedly hit back at her critics, insisting that she made a ‘brave’ decision in pulling out of the competitions in order to protect her mental and physical health – both of which were compromised as a result of her struggle with the ‘twisties’.
The mental block causes gymnasts to feel like they are ‘lost in the air’ and Biles has admitted that she was ‘petrified’ she was going to suffer serious injury as a result of the condition – which she has also revealed was likely ‘triggered’ by the trauma of the abuse she suffered at the hands of pedophile doctor Larry Nassar.
‘Now that I think of it, maybe in the back of my head, probably, yes, because there are certain triggers that you don’t even know. And I think [the abuse] could have [affected me],’ she said on Today last week.
Since returning to Spring, Texas, on Thursday, Biles has found time to enjoy some rest and relaxation, sharing regular updates from her daily routine on social media, including videos and photos of herself sipping cocktails by the pool while modeling an array of colorful bikinis.
She has also made sure to soak up as much time as possible with her NFL player beau Jonathan Owens, traveling to his Houston Texans training sessions to watch him play, while also kicking back with him by the pool at her sprawling $750,000 home.
Cheerleader: Since returning home, Biles has spent much of her time with her NFL star boyfriend Jonathan Owens, and on Tuesday she went to support him at a training session
Together again: The gymnast sported a Houston Texans shirt and a ‘J’ pendant as she joined her 26-year-old boyfriend on the field
All smiles: She looked delighted to have been reunited with her boyfriend after weeks apart
However Biles will only get to spend a few weeks at home before she hits the road again – this time to lead a lucrative 35-city national gymnastics tour, which is being sponsored by Athleta, a brand for which she serves as a spokesmodel.
She is due to kick off the Gold Over America Tour (GOAT) on September 21, in Tucson, Arizona, and she will be joined at the event by several other elite gymnasts, including her Olympic teammates Jordan Chiles and Mykayla Skinner.
Tickets for the Gold Over America Tour (GOAT) events cost up to $200 each, although the most expensive VIP packages are priced at a staggering $349 per person.
The gymnast confirmed in Tokyo that the tour will go ahead despite her mental health struggles, insisting that the events she will perform in do not require her to do skills that could trigger her ‘twisties’.
It may well be that her training session on Monday was part of her preparation for the tour – however if the gymnast wants to get ready for Paris 2024, it is likely that she would need to make a decision in the near future, in order to ensure that she reaches peak physical fitness in time for the Olympic Trials in three years.
Along with her teammate Skinner, also 24, Biles was the oldest member of Team USA’s gymnastics squad in Tokyo, and she likely would be again.
Kicking back: Biles has enjoyed some rest and relaxation since returning to Texas, sharing photos and videos of herself kicking back by the pool at her $750,000 home
Pour it up: In a series of Instagram posts, Simone looked incredible in a tie dye bikini as she snapped selfies before pouring herself a cocktail
Although 2008 Olympic gymnast Chellsie Memmel attempted to make a return to the elite level in time for the Tokyo Games, she failed to make the cut, and Biles is now the only athlete of her age still training for international competition.
For now, Biles seems focused on spending time with her loved ones at home – and on Tuesday she once again played the role of cheerleader while cheering Owens, 26, on during a training session in Houston.
Wearing a ‘J’ pendant in his honor, as well as a Houston Texans shirt, Biles looked every inch the supportive girlfriend as she supported the NFL star from the sidelines.
She also turned her Instagram account towards a more serious topic on Monday night – when she shared her ‘pro-choice’ stance on abortion, while opening up about her ‘tough’ experience within the country’s ‘broken’ foster care system.
Biles, who spent several years in foster care with her siblings after they were taken away from their biological mother Shanon, opened up about her experiences while hitting back at a follower who stated that ‘abortion is wrong’ during an ‘unpopular opinions’ Q&A.
Insisting that she is ‘very much pro-choice’, Biles then pre-empted any critics who believe that unwanted children can ‘easily’ be put up for adoption, drawing on her own time in foster care to warn others against that ideology.
Opinion: On Monday night, Biles shared her ‘pro-choice’ stance on abortion while speaking out about her ‘tough’ experience in the ‘broken’ foster care system
‘Tough’: Biles, pictured in childhood photos, and her siblings were put into the foster care system after their birth mother, Shanon, battled drug and alcohol addictions
‘They saved me’: She was later adopted by her grandparents, Nellie and Ron, who she refers to as ‘mom’ and ‘dad’ and whom she credits with ‘saving her’ from the foster care system
‘I already know this is going to start the biggest argument [and] I may even lose followers but I’m very much pro-choice,’ the Texas-based athlete began. ‘Your body, your choice.
‘Also for everyone [who is] gonna say, “Just put it up for adoption,” it’s not that easy and coming from someone who was in the foster care system… [The system] is broken and it’s TOUGH. Especially on the kids [and] young adults who age out.’
The gymnast further clarified her stance on abortion in a series of tweets – while hitting back at a since-deleted post in which a user claimed she was suggesting that people should choose termination over foster care or adoption.
‘DO NOT misconstrue my words,’ she wrote. ‘That is not at all what I implied. I did NOT say I support to abort rather than to put them through the foster care system.
‘What I did imply is that you should not control someone else’s body/decision. Let’s be real what you care about is control…
‘I have forever [and] will continue to support foster kids. AS I WAS ONE. I’ve been an advocate for foster kids and the system but you wouldn’t know that because you don’t follow me, you just like to open your mouth.’
Controversy: After sharing her pro-choice stance on Instagram, Biles hit back at a since-deleted tweet that suggested she favors abortion over any kind of foster care
Hitting back: She slammed the user for suggesting that she doesn’t support the foster care system, insisting that she has always been ‘an advocate’ for kids in care
Siblings: Biles and her sister Adria were both formally adopted by their grandparents when the gymnast was six years old
Family: Biles moved to Spring, Texas, to live with Ron and Nellie, whom she had an emotional reunion with upon her return from the Tokyo Olympics
Biles spent three years in foster care after being taken away from her birth mother, Shanon, when she was just three years old. Her mom struggled with drug and alcohol addictions, and spent time in jail – which led to Biles and her siblings being removed from her care.
The gymnast and her sister Adria were formally adopted by their grandparents, Nellie, 68, and Ron, 72, when Biles was six, and she has lived with them ever since – relocating from Columbus, Ohio, to Texas, where the couple had moved.
She now refers to the couple as ‘mom’ and ‘dad’, and when she arrived back in the US after the Tokyo Olympics, was seen enjoying a tearful reunion with her parents at the airport in Houston.
This is not the first time that Biles has opened up about her time in foster care.
In 2016, when she was starring as a contestant on Dancing With the Stars, Biles recalled ‘always being hungry and afraid’ during her time in the system, explaining that the regular visits from her grandfather were the only positive experience she can really remember.
‘Whenever we had visits with my grandpa, I was so excited,’ she said at the time. ‘That was the person I always wanted to see.’
Biles added that her grandparents ‘saved her’ by adopting her and giving her a new life in Texas, where she began her gymnastics training and eventually rose up to become one of the most famous and successful athletes in the world.