Simone Biles is set to return to gymnastics after a two-year hiatus. The 26-year-old will make her long-awaited return to the sport during the 2023 U.S. Classic in August. Biles will also attempt to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics, although she has doubts about whether she will be ready to participate in the competition.
The gymnast said she “still has to heal mentally and physically” during an appearance on the Late Late Show with James Corden. Biles expanded on her mental health by answering fan questions in her Instagram Stories earlier this month.
She was asked how she has been “handling the mental side” of her return to the sport. Biles shared that therapy has been a central part of taking care of her well-being.
“Lots of therapy, I go once a week for almost 2 hrs,” she said, according to PEOPLE. “I’ve had so much trauma, so being able to work on some of the traumas and work on healing is a blessing.”
Biles dropped out of competing at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 after getting the “twisties,” a phenomenon where athletes lose the ability to feel their body moving through the air.
“The rhythm is off, and your brain will like stutter step for half a second, and that’s enough to throw off the whole skill,” gymnast Laurie Hernandez told the Olympics. “And, so, it happens, and it takes a second to get over that.”
“I’ve had the twisties before. Hated it — so much. It’s painful,” Hernandez added. “It actively makes you feel like you’re not the caliber of athlete that you are.”
At the time of her withdrawal, Biles had cited the need to “focus on her mental health.” A few weeks after dropping out from competing, the athlete testified before Congress about the sexual abuse she and hundreds of gymnasts endured from Larry Nassar, the doctor for Team U.S.A. gymnastics. Gabby Thomas is another athlete who accused Nassar and recently announced her return to the sport after a seven-year hiatus.
A week after the official announcement of her return to gymnastics, Biles confirmed the news on social media.
“Sorry I’ve been a little MIA since the announcement,” she tweeted. “I’m overwhelmed with all of your messages, support and love! Excited to get back out on the competition floor! XOXO”
Qualifications for the Paris Olympics will be decided during various rounds of competition next October and November. For now, you can watch Biles compete at the 2023 U.S. Classic in August.