Originally slated to start on July 24th in Tokyo, Japan, the biggest sporting spectacular in the world made the tough decision to – for the first time in modern history – delay their highly-anticipated events. This would have marked Biles’ second appearance at the Games – and to say the news was a disappointment would be a massive understatement.
“It’s a letdown,” she said during a Wednesday phone interview.
“It’s hard to keep looking at that like, ‘We have another year.’”
Biles took two entire years off of her sport to relax following her massive success at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Everything since her 2018 return has been scheduled to the minute. As The New York Times explains it, “there’s a large whiteboard calendar on a wall inside the massive gym owned by Simone Biles’ family that outlines every major gymnastics event of the year, the 2020 Olympics included.”
“When the Tokyo Games were officially postponed to the summer of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the outlet continued, “one of the reigning Olympic champion’s coaches ran over to the calendar and erased all of it.
Watching Cecile Landi wipe away all of Biles’ carefully laid plans left the 23-year-old star reeling.”
Naturally, the next question posed to Biles was basically, “but you’re still going to ‘push toward Tokyo, despite the delay,’ right?”
In their words, “she stopped short of an unqualified yes.”
“Well, nothing is really set in stone yet,” she answered. “We’re trying to figure out the right training regiment just so mentally and physically we can try and stay on top of our game. We’re just playing it by ear and really just listening to my body.”
The Biles’ Texas-based World Champions Centre made announcement of their gym’s closure for deep cleaning across the dates of Monday, March 16th through Sunday March 22nd. The complex later extended their closure until April 3rd on Governor’s orders.
The recently-turned 23-year-old powerhouse further explained that the Games’ postponement should not be looked at as “just another year” away.
“A year is a lot for elite athletes,” Biles said. “It feels more than a year on your body, trust me. Especially gymnastics, the impact we take.”
Biles additionally expressed that the pressure she felt before this major date shift has only intensified since.
“This year I was just doing it for me, no expectations. Now it’s all eyes again on you, wondering, ‘Can she do it, now she’s a year older?’ You’re like, ‘oh shoot.’”
But, despite the crushing blow, she agrees postponement was the best choice.
“I didn’t really know what to feel,” Biles told Today on April 1st. “I cried, but ultimately it was the right decision.”