The gymnastics community is rejoicing after Simone Biles announced her return to competition on Wednesday (June 28). The news was confirmed by USA Gymnastics, who revealed a legendary and iconic roster for the 2023 U.S. Classic – set for August 4-5 at NOW Arena in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.
It’ll be Simone Biles’ first competition since the 2020 Olympics in 2020 – which were actually held in late July 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While she made it through the first rotation of the team event before withdrawing from the competition, citing mental health concerns and dealing with the ‘twisties.’
She ended up sitting out the rest of the team all-around, individual all-around, vault, and floor exercise finals and hasn’t competed since. Still, she managed to take home a silver medal for the team event – though her teammates did all the work – and a bronze medal in the women’s balance beam event.
“It is exciting to think about the level of talent and historical legacy of the field that may compete at U.S. Classic. Every athlete is at a different place in their season and career, and we will support each of them, wherever they are in their journey,” USA Gymnastics Chief Programs Officer Stefanie Korepin said.
In addition to Simone Biles, the United States will also see the return of Sunisa Lee. She has missed the past few weeks of her sophomore season at Auburn University due to a kidney-related health issue. Her return is important as she continues to prepare for the 2024 Summer Olympics, hosted in Paris, France.
Biles and Lee are two of the most talented gymnastics stars in the world today. Between the two of them, they’re the two-time defending Olympic all-around gold medalists – Biles won the event in 2016, while Lee secured her first career Olympic gold medal in 2020 when she won the all-around event in Biles’ absence.
Aside from those two, the roster is headlined by Jade Carey of Oregon State – she won her first Olympic gold medal in the floor exercise at the 2020 Olympics. Others included on the U.S. Classic roster include Jordan Chiles, Leanne Wong, Kayla DiCello, Skye Blakely, and Mélanie de Jesus dos Santos.
A Look Back at Simone Biles’ Career Thus Far
Simone Biles has already established herself as one of the greatest gymnastics stars of all-time. And while her withdrawal from the 2020 Olympics was out of character for her, it hasn’t damaged her legacy and she still demands the utmost respect from those she competes against – and this year is no different.
Biles began her junior career in 2011 and her senior career two years later. She won 19 gold medals, three silver medals, and three bronze medals at the World Championships between 2013 and 2019 – her 25 total medals make her the most decorated gymnast in the history of the World Championships.
She made her Olympic debut in 2016 and proved her dominance, winning four gold medals (team, vault, all-around, and floor exercise) and one bronze medal (balance beam). With her two medals at the 2020 Olympics, she now has seven Olympic medals – tied with Shannon Miller for most in American history.
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Simone Biles has always been a huge advocate for mental health awareness and has documented her own struggles with mental health – including at the 2020 Olympics. She’ll now be making her return to competition and it comes just a few months after she married the love of her life, JonathanOwens, in April.
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