Simone Biles Begins Her ‘Journey to Paris’ Ahead of 2024 Olympics

Simone Biles celebrated her return to gymnastic competition with style — and mocktails — on the road to the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Biles, 26, documented her “journey to Paris” via her Instagram Story beginning on Thursday, August 3. For the Olympic gold medalist, that road began with a private plane ride and flowers that appeared to be from her husband, Jonathan Owens. (Biles and the Green Bay Packers player, 28, tied the knot in April.)

Once Biles landed in Illinois for the Core Hydration Classic — a.k.a. the U.S. Classic — she met up with former Team U.S.A. member Jordan Chiles for a drink.

“Cheers!” Biles captioned an Instagram Story video on Thursday alongside Chiles, 22. Biles then pointed out that the champagne in the clip was “nonalcoholic” as both women are in training for the upcoming Olympics.

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On Friday, August 4, Biles checked in for her first competition since she withdrew from the final team event during the Tokyo Games in July 2021. (The U.S. Classic will take place on Saturday, August 5.)

“Welcome to Now Arena. The Journey to Paris 2024 Starts Here,” a sign read as Biles arrived on Friday alongside a red, white and blue balloon wall. The gymnast revealed via her Instagram Story that a giant Eiffel Tower cutout was also part of the welcoming committee.

Biles’ future as a gymnast has been a hot topic since she decided to withdraw from several events in Tokyo in 2021 after developing “the twisties,” which is when athletes experience the loss of control over their bodies while spinning through the air.

“I didn’t have a bad performance & quit,” Biles wrote via Instagram in 2021. “I’ve had plenty of bad performances throughout my career and finished the competition. I simply got so lost [that] my safety was at risk as well as a team medal.”

During the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which were pushed to summer 2021 amid the coronavirus pandemic, Biles decided not to compete in the final team event in addition to withdrawing from the individual all-around, floor exercise, vault and uneven bars finals.

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She did compete in the balance beam final where she took home the bronze medal. Biles’ teammates — Chiles, Suni Lee and Grace McCallum — ended up winning the silver medal in the team all-around in her absence. Lee, 20, also won gold in the individual all-around and bronze in the uneven bars, while Jade Carey took home the gold for her floor exercise and MyKayla Skinner won silver for the vault.

The following year, Biles hinted that she wasn’t ready to say goodbye to gymnastics for good despite her upsetting Tokyo appearance.

“I really feel like leading up to Tokyo, I was hitting my prime,” she told USA Today in March 2022. “Truly, I thought in 2016, at 19 years old, I had peaked. And whenever I came back to the sport, I was like, ‘There’s no way I’m going to get even better than I was because somebody told me that was the best I was going to get.’”

Although Biles said she had “no regrets” after she took time off following the 2021 events, she teased that she wasn’t ready to hang up her leotard.

“I want to see how much I’m capable of, how talented I can be. And that’s why I came back [for 2020], just to not have any regrets if I look back in 10 years,” Biles continued. “So, now I can really say I have no regrets, but maybe I might push it a little bit more to see.”

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Last month, Biles confirmed that her time on the mat was not done and that she’d be competing at the U.S. Classic on Saturday.

“Sorry I’ve been a little MIA since the announcement,” she tweeted in July. “I’m overwhelmed with all of your messages, support & love! excited to get back out on the competition floor! XOXO.”

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Biles is currently tied with Shannon Miller for the most Olympic medals won by an American gymnast. In addition to her bronze and silver from the Tokyo Games, Biles won four gold medals and one bronze during the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. With the addition of her 25 World Championship medals, Biles is the most decorated gymnast in the history of the Gymnastics World Championships.

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