Simone Biles resumed training for the first time in more than a year with her eyes set on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics where one of the greatest gymnasts of all time expects to be a mentor on the US team.
Biles, whose four gold medals at last year’s Rio Games capped a run of dominance unlike anything the gymnastics world has seen, did not say whether she felt she could repeat that success in Tokyo, but did mention her changing role.
“It’s very important to be a mentor, especially if we have any newcomers and to show them the ropes and tell them that it’s going to be okay and boost their confidence on a stage that large,” Biles, 20, said in a telephone interview on Friday.
“So I feel like that’s my role going into these next few years, being a mentor during championships and worlds and all of those international meets before the Games again,” she added.
Biles has been an elite gymnast since 2011 and after taking a break to enjoy life away from the gym, she is now training and planning to make her return at the US Classic in late July next year.
She is to compete on the balance beam and uneven bars when she makes her competitive comeback, but will add floor and vault a few weeks later at the national championships.
She said she still has all her skills and while getting back to her routine was not incredibly hard, it did come with its fair share of challenges.
“The first day [back] I was doing some skills and it was going pretty smoothly, but then it all catches up to you and by the third day I could barely walk. So that was no fun, but now it’s been pretty good,” Biles said.
Her plan all along was to take time off exploring the world with family and friends after Rio with the ultimate goal of returning fresher, both physically and mentally, before resuming training.
By the time 2020 rolls around, Biles will be 23, which is considered rather old by elite women’s gymnastics standards, but she is not letting that deter her.
She hopes that by having avoided for more than a year the wear and tear that intense training takes on a body, it would allow her to continue competing at a high level for a few more years.
Biles said she expects the Tokyo Games to be her final competition and while she would love to go out on top, she was not ready to unveil her goals.
“It’s kind of hard to set a bar, only because I know what other people expect and what I have set for myself and sometimes that doesn’t link up eye to eye,” Biles said.
“So it’s kind of like finding the balance between pleasing everybody and also doing what I love to do and making my goals,” she said.
“But it’s also very different because I am older, it’ll be a new time coming, the rules have changed a little bit as well so we will just have to see,” she added.
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