Next summer is likely to be the last time we’ll see Simone Biles compete at an Olympic Games — the quadruple Olympic gold medalist gave an interview to Britain’s Press Association Thursday in which she said Tokyo 2020 will to be her final Games.
“I definitely plan for the Tokyo Olympics to be my last,” Biles said in the morning interview in London, where she is headlining the Superstars of Gymnastics show this weekend at the O2 Arena. “I feel like my body’s gone through a lot and it’s kind of just falling apart -- not that you can actually tell but I really feel it a lot of the time. I am in pain most of the time but it kind of feels right because if you are not in pain, it is almost like you could be doing more.”
Biles could retire tomorrow and still have had the greatest career in modern gymnastics history. Her four Olympic gold medals from Rio and unprecedented four world all-around titles have made her a living legend in women’s gymnastics, and she’s likely to add on to those totals before she’s through.
The past year hasn’t been easy, though, even for the GOAT. She braved the aches and pains of getting her body back in competition shape when she returned to training in November 2017 after a year-long layoff following the Rio Games. Then, the night before women’s prelims at the 2018 Worlds last October, stomach pain sent her to the emergency room, where doctors discovered a kidney stone. Biles opted to compete anyway, and won four more world titles, bringing her total to 14.
She performed very well in her first competition of 2019, easily taking the title at the Stuttgart World Cup last weekend with 58.8 points, more than three and a half points over second place. In media interviews in Germany, she was professional but appeared a bit fatigued by the travel, which she confirmed on Instagram after her arrival in London. Earlier today, she tweeted about anxiety so bad it kept her from sleeping.
Though almost universally proclaimed as the greatest female gymnast of all time, Biles also admitted to feeling some anxiousness. In Stuttgart last weekend and at October’s World Championships in Doha, she occasionally struggled in her warmups and has in the past admitted to feeling fear on balance beam. “I stress myself out really bad and then I get really bad anxiety and then I have to tell myself, ‘It’s fine, just to take things skill by skill,’” she said in Stuttgart.