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Gymnast Simone Biles was well on her way to qualifying for the Olympics when the Games were pushed back a full year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now she, like every other Olympic hopeful, is dealing with social distancing and a major disruption in her training calendar.
In an interview with “TODAY,” the 23-year-old Biles talked about how she’s moving forward with her training in the time of social distancing, but first she described to hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb how she felt when she first found out about the postponement of the Games.
Those tears are understandable. Biles took 18 months off from gymnastics following the 2016 Rio Olympics and has worked hard to get back in shape both mentally and physically. Her goal was to get to the 2020 Olympics, and the postponement put all of that in question.
But because she’s Simone Biles, she recovered quickly and accepted the challenge to stay in shape and prepare for the rescheduled 2020 Olympics, which will now start on July 23, 2021. There’s no tumbling at home, but she’s walking her dogs a lot and getting instructions from her coaches on FaceTime.
Biles has no doubt that she and other Olympic athletes will be physically ready to compete when the Summer Games start next year, but she knows it’s about more than just physical readiness. She will need to be mindful of her mental health, as will every athlete.
Biles said that she hasn’t been very “out there” on social media when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is understandable given the uncertainty that has surrounded the Olympics. However, she’s donated a leotard to Athletes for Relief, a charity raising money to combat COVID-19 through athlete memorabilia.
The biggest relief for the many Biles fans around the world is that not only is she doing fine since the Olympic postponement, but she’s still planning to compete in the Olympics in 2021. Biles needs just four more medals of any color at the Olympic or World level to become the most decorated gymnast in history, and hopefully in 2021 we can all watch her tumble into the history books.
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