Simone Biles made an impressive return to the World Gymnastics Championships after taking a break from the sport two years ago to work on her mental health.
Simone Biles needs no introduction. She has a prolific career in gymnastics and with each laurel, she is cementing her place as a bonafide legend. Her recent win has made her the most decorated gymnast in the world with her medal tally. The 2023 World Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp, Belgium, got the privilege to witness Biles's brilliant second coming after a break of two years. She did not disappoint her well-wishers with her impressive performance at every turn, winning two gold medals. On Friday, she won her 21st world championship gold medal, which brought her tally to 34 world and Olympic medals, more than any other gymnast in the world, reports BBC.
Alongside her all-around gold, the athlete also helped the country bag a seventh consecutive team title. She got the gold with a score of 58.399 points. Biles won the title by defeating Rebeca Andrade of Brazil and her own teammate Shilese Jones, who got silver and bronze, respectively. Biles made a comeback after a two-year break with the Antwerp event. It is her sixth all-around win in her career.
This performance by Biles is great news for the country, as the Olympics are just around the corner in Paris. Biles won four gold medals in her 2016 showing at the Olympics, reports ABC. Her performance at that time made her the first American woman to win four gold medals in the Olympic games. The 2020 Olympic games, unfortunately, were not as smooth for the athlete, as she went through many ups and downs in her showing. All of this led to her stepping down from several events.
According to a blog post published on the official Olympics website, Biles had to step down from the vaulting podium after getting lost during her routine. She later explained that she got a case of the "twisties"—a state in which a gymnast is out of sync in terms of their mind and body. For her well-being and the team's benefit, she took a step back. "I just felt like it would be a little bit better to take a back seat to work on my mindfulness, and I knew that the girls would do an absolutely great job," Biles explained in the press conference post the event. "I didn't want to risk the team a medal for kind of my screw-ups because they've worked way too hard for that. So, I just decided that those girls need to go in and do the rest of the competition."
This event led her to embark on a two-year break, where she focussed on her mental health. Though she faced a lot of criticism for her move, her comeback reflects that it was absolutely the right call to make at the time. In 2023, she tied the knot with her longtime boyfriend, professional American football player Jonathan Owens. It is not the first time Biles has opened up about her mental health issues, as 2017 saw her talk about her ADHD diagnosis, as reported by Attitude Magazine.
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It was revealed how due to her medications she got an exemption from the World Anti-Doping Agency. After being attacked incessantly for the exception, she bravely came forward on social media and stated, "Having ADHD and taking medicine for it is nothing to be ashamed of, nothing that I'm afraid to let people know."