Simone Biles reveals she thought she’d never compete again after 2-year break

Simone Biles celebrates win at Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Antwerp, Belgium, 2023
AP Photo/Geert vanden Wijngaert

In October, Simone Biles won her sixth all-around gold medal at the 2023 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships and became the most decorated competitor in gymnastics history. And this after taking home her record eighth U.S. nationals title in August.

But in a recent interview with People, the 26-year-old newlywed says that there was a time when she thought she would never compete again.

“It honestly feels amazing to return to competition, I never thought I would compete again so this is a blessing,” Biles said in the interview. “My favorite moment has been competing alongside my WCC teammates.”

MORE: Simone Biles lands historic vault at international competition

Biles famously stepped away from the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, sitting out on four out of five final events to prioritize her mental health. For two years, Biles did not compete. But, in August, Simone Biles (now Simone Biles Owens, after wedding NFL player Johnathan Owens in April) returned to competition again for the first time at 2023 U.S. Classics in Chicago.

Simone Biles waves while watching her husband warm up at Packers game
AP Photo/Matt Ludtke

Just weeks later, she earned a record-breaking eighth national title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships in San Jose, California. (She previously shared the record of seven all-around national title wins with Alfred Jochim). The 12,000-strong crowd gave her a standing ovation.

Biles told People she is planning to spend the holidays with her husband in Green Bay, Wisconsin — Owens is a safety on the Green Bay Packers, and she was spotted on the sidelines at his game on Dec. 3 wearing a custom Packers-green Athleta puffer jacket (photo above). The Athleta spokesmodel, who also talked with People about the brand’s holiday “No Time Like the Present” campaign (you can browse her favorite Athleta picks for the season), says that she is continuing to practice self-care and self-compassion throughout the season.

“Our lives can get so busy, so I plan on prioritizing self-compassion and daily well-being by getting great sleep, resting when I need to, and surrounding myself with people that lift me up — family, friends, and of course, my dogs!” Biles says.

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Bridget Sharkey
Bridget Sharkey is a freelance writer covering pop culture, beauty, food, health and nature. Visit Scripps News to see more of Bridget's work.

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