Simone Biles led Texas' domination of the medal stand in the last Olympics.
Houston's Olympic superstar Simone Biles gracefully scored all 10s on some red carpets.
Simone Biles once pulled off the greatest first pitch in baseball history thanks to her twisting back flip. (@DTGoteraKHOU)
The sports fallout from the coronavirus pandemic pales in comparison to the real horrors this insidious virus is leaving in its wake. Still, the idea that the coronavirus cancellations could rob sports fans of the chance to ever see Simone Biles compete in the Olympics again would be one of the crueler sports fallouts.
Houston’s Olympic hero was committed to competing in Tokyo this summer. She’s not yet ready to commit to being in Tokyo in 2021 though.
“Well, nothing is really set in stone yet,” Biles told the Associated Press Wednesday in her first comments since the Olympics were (finally) officially pushed back a year . “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.”
Biles — who also appeared on The Today Show in a rare non-Olympics media blitz for her — talked of breaking down in tears when she learned that the Olympics were being postponed. She also delved into the understandable struggle with realizing that she would have to extend the grind by more than 15 months in order to compete in the 2021 Summer Games.
“I was just mentally battling my mind, and I was so ready — and not mentally checked out — but I was ready after three months to be done,” Biles said. “That’s a lot to take mentally.”
The 23-year-old Biles expected to be walking away from competitive gymnastics and into the rest of her life in early August. Now, she must keep going — and relentlessly training — into August 2021 in order to compete in one final Olympics.
“It’s a letdown,” Biles told The Associated Press. “It’s hard to keep looking at that like, ‘We have another year.’ ”
This does not mean Simone Biles will not compete in Tokyo. Chances are she still will. It’s hard to imagine her deciding to walk away from arguably the greatest Olympics career ever off such an unsatisfying limbo finish. But Biles is not to the point where she’s ready to promise to anyone — including herself — that she will be there no matter what in 2021.
On a day that Wimbledon was cancelled — not postponed, cancelled — for the first since World War II, Biles’ future still rang out as the bigger sports story. That is how transcendent a worldwide figure this hometown star has become.
For now, Simone Biles is social distancing like the rest of us, working out in her Spring area home. She acknowledges that canceling the games was the right thing to do. But that does not make the potential grind ahead any less daunting. Or real.