Simone Biles won't commit to Tokyo Olympics in 2021: 'We're just playing it by ear'

One of the world’s most prominent athletes isn’t ready to commit to Tokyo’s rescheduled Olympics.

Simone Biles spoke with the Associated Press on Wednesday about the disappointment of this summer’s Games being postponed. She declined to commit to competing next summer.

“Well, nothing is really set in stone yet,” Biles said. “We’re trying to figure out the right training regiment just so mentally and physically we can try and stay on top of our game. We’re just playing it by ear and really just listening to my body.”

That’s far from a no. It’s also most assuredly not a commitment.

Biles told “Today” earlier Wednesday that she cried when the Games were postponed, but acknowledged it was the right decision amid the COVID-19 pandemic. She made no mention of having doubts about 2021.

Impact of the delay on athletes

For athletes who have dedicated their lives to Olympic competition, seeing the Summer Games pushed back by a year can be emotional. And even though organizers insist that the Games will go on starting July 23, 2021, nobody knows what the state of the COVID-19 pandemic will be next summer.

It’s an uncertainty that can be taxing for athletes, especially after seeing their 2020 preparation go for naught.

“I was just mentally battling my mind, and I was so ready and not mentally checked out, but I was ready after three months to be done,” Biles continued. “That’s a lot to take mentally.”

Still processing the emotion of losing 2020, Simone Biles isn't ready to make plans for 2021. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
Still processing the emotion of losing 2020, Simone Biles isn't ready to make plans for 2021. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

Biles’ importance to Summer Games

Biles, 23, is the star of a U.S. Olympic gymnastics contingent that was expected to compete for gold in Tokyo. Biles won five gold medals in Rio in 2016, including team competition and individual all-around. She’s considered by many to be the greatest gymnast in the history of the sport.

Her updates from the gym on Twitter ramped up anticipation for what she had in store for Tokyo.

Losing Biles would be a significant blow not only to Team USA, but to the Olympics as a whole.

Biles’ training during pandemic

She’s working out at home, but told AP she’s not breaking coronavirus protocols to sneak into her closed gym in Houston.

“I know some people who are like, ‘I’m going to sneak in the gym and take the fine,’ this or that,” Biles said. “It’s your health and your safety, you have to be careful around other people.”

Biles has a lot of time to figure if and how she will prepare for 2021 Olympics. But for now, she’s still processing the news of 2020 not happening.

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