WASHINGTON — One of the most anticipated comebacks expected for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games is on the table, as gymnast Simone Biles confirms she is training for a spot at the Paris Games.
The gymnast acknowledged for the first time on an appearance on the TODAY Show that she aims to compete at the 2024 Olympics.
"That's the path that I would love to go," Biles said during the interview Thursday morning.
Biles is viewed as possibly the world's greatest gymnast, winning title after title in the 10 years since she ascended to the top of the sport as a teen prodigy. She's also famous for bringing the conversation about mental health to the forefront of the professional sports world.
In 2021, at the Tokyo Games, she got the "twisties" — a mental block that prevents gymnasts from being able to keep their position in the air — and withdrew from several events. After Tokyo, she took a two-year break from competitive gymnastics to focus on her mental health before returning in August to the public stage.
During that time, Biles became an outspoken advocate for the mental health of athletes, becoming one of the strongest voices in support of U.S. skiier Mikaela Shiffrin, who faced mental health struggles that hurt her performance in the 2022 Winter Games.
But in less than a month since returning to the scene, Biles has roared back to the top of the field. At the end of August, Biles won her eighth U.S. Championship, a record-setting accomplishment.
There has been much speculation in recent weeks that Biles' return to gymnastics was setting the stage for her return to the Olympics. And although she says that's the goal, Biles told TODAY's Hoda Kotb that she was still taking it slowly.
"Everything leading up to these next Games is very intentional," she said. "I've been playing it on the down-low this time, making sure mentally and physically are both intact."
Biles said her return to the gym hasn't always been easy as she worked to get past the mental blocks that plagued her 2021 competition.
"There were times when I would come in the gym and I would be like 'you know what, no, I don't think this is going to work' and then I was like 'no, I'm going to give it another day,' she said. "As long as I showed up for another day and kept putting that work in, then it kind of went down and dwindled."
Biles credits that improvement to a combination of trust in the people around her, continual therapy and a focus on the things that matter.
"I think I have to take care of myself a little bit more and listen to my body and making sure that I'm making time for the important things in my life, rather than, before it was 'go go go!' and making time after," she said.
Biles also says her long-distance husband, NFL player Jonathan Owens, has kept her on the path while he pursues his own career. Owens signed with the Green Bay Packers days after the pair were married in April, and moved up to Wisconsin to be with the team.
"At least we're both busy and focusing on our respective sports," she said. "We cherish the moment's we get together."
The Paris Olympics will kick off on July 26, 2024 and will run through August 11.