Simone Biles made international headlines when she withdrew from the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics two years ago. Citing mental health issues, Biles chose to step back from the Olympic Games to focus on her well-being.
Although a few critics condemned the Olympic champion, Biles’s choice ultimately led to many athletes acknowledging their own mental health struggles and expressing gratitude to the gymnast.
The star gymnast, who has 25 world championship medals and four skills named after her, hasn’t competed since returning briefly to take a bronze medal in the balance beam final during that Olympics, although she did participate in an exhibition tour afterward.
Now, 26-year-old Biles is back to the mat. USA Gymnastics announced that Biles will join the team of gymnasts at the 2023 U.S. Classic near Chicago on Aug. 5. This is a competition she has shone in previously.
The two-day U.S. Classic will take place at the Now Arena in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, about a half hour outside Chicago. You can buy tickets to the event through Ticketmaster.
MORE: Simone Biles named Time’s Athlete of the Year after tough 2021
Biles has been open about her mental health and why she needed to sit out the Tokyo games. The stress of testifying against sexual predator Larry Nassar and reliving her trauma took its toll on her.
“I should have quit way before Tokyo, when Larry Nassar was in the media for two years. It was too much,” Biles told New York Magazine in 2021, as reported by CNN.
In addition, Biles’s aunt died during the Tokyo Games, and Biles has said she was suffering from “the twisties.” This term refers to a dangerous condition that can make a gymnast disoriented in the air.
MORE: Chrissy Teigen and John Legend welcome fourth child via surrogate
Taking time off to focus on her mental health has been a positive decision for Biles, but she’s been plenty busy— giving master classes, partnering with companies, traveling and more. She recently wed football player Jonathan Owens in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, after the couple officially tied the knot at a courthouse in Houston.
Although Biles expressed nervousness prior to the event, she told Vogue that the ceremony ended up being “beautiful and dreamy.”
“Whales were jumping out of the water as our ceremony started,” the gymnasts said. “Whale season is over by the way. It sprinkled for two minutes after we got married — which is good luck! — and we had a full moon. It was truly the most magical!”
As for her upcoming Chicago appearance, attending the U.S. Classic could indicate that Biles is planning to begin competing on a global scale again, but she has not yet confirmed any plans. However, speculation has already begun as to whether she’ll participate in the Summer Olympics set for Paris in 2024.