Simone Biles plans to be at the 2024 Paris Olympics, but whether that’s as a competitor or a spectator is to be decided.
Biles, asked in multiple interviews over the last week about a possible gymnastics comeback, repeated that she will attend the next Olympics in the French capital.
“I’m still taking time for myself just to work on myself, mentally and physically,” she said in a sitdown at a Mexico City event last week. “For Paris, as of now, I would say, I’ll be there regardless. I just don’t know if it will be as an athlete or as an audience member, but if I do decide to train, obviously, I’d have to go 100 percent, so I probably wouldn’t hold back. I’d still try to give it my all.”
Biles gave a similar answer in a “The Late Late Show with James Corden” appearance that aired Wednesday night.
“I still have to heal mentally and physically,” she said. “I will be in Paris, I just don’t know at what role — if that is an athlete or an audience member — so we’ll just have to see.”
In further proof that Biles is keeping her options open, she shared on social media earlier this summer that she is still getting drug tested. That is significant because athletes who retire (or plan to take long breaks from competition) often file paperwork to take their names out of drug-testing pools.
If Biles took her name out of drug testing, and she wanted to later return to competition, she would have to wait six months after returning to the drug-testing system to be eligible to compete.
The last U.S. female artistic gymnast to make three Olympic teams was Dominique Dawes in 2000.
Other recent U.S. gold-medal gymnasts took breaks after the Games and returned.
Nastia Liukin, the 2008 all-around gold medalist, left competition after the 2009 U.S. Championships and returned in May 2012 for a 2012 Olympic run, missing that team.
Shawn Johnson, the 2008 balance beam gold medalist, returned to a national team camp in November 2010 and competition in 2011 before retiring in June 2012.
Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman, members of the 2012 Olympic champion team, returned to national team camps in 2014 and competition in March 2015 ahead of making the 2016 Olympic team.