Gymnastics superstar Simone Biles is set to take the competitive stage later this summer, in her first sanctioned event in nearly two years, officials said Wednesday.
Organizers of the U.S. Classic announced that the four-time gold medalist will compete in the event on Aug. 4-5 at NOW Arena in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.
It would be her first competition since the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, when she brought worldwide attention to the mental health struggles of athletes.
Biles, 26, was a breakout star of the 2016 Rio Olympics, striking gold in the team all-around, individual all-around, vault and floor exercise and taking a bronze on the balance beam.
She was the focal point of attention headed into the Covid-delayed games in Tokyo.
Biles then stunned the gymnastics world when she pulled out of the team finals, saying the emotional toll of the Tokyo Games, not a physical injury, prompted her withdrawal.
“Physically, I feel good. I’m in shape,” she told Hoda Kotb on NBC’s “TODAY” following her exit. “Emotionally, it varies on the time and moment. Coming to the Olympics and being head star isn’t an easy feat.”
Later, she explained to NBC’s Andrea Joyce that her struggle was “more mental, and we’re just dealing with a couple of things internally.”
Biles’ appearance in the August competition will raise hopes that she’ll try to make her third Olympics, when the world’s greatest athletes gather in Paris next year. But her status for 2024 is still uncertain.
Without Biles in Tokyo two years ago, the U.S. women’s team still captured silver in team competition. She returned to action in Tokyo to win bronze on the beam.
Shortly after Tokyo, Biles gave tearful testimony the Senate Judiciary Committee, sharing her story of being sexually abused by USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.
She bluntly said that USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee “failed to do their jobs.”
“I don’t want another young gymnast, or Olympic athlete, or any individual to experience the horror that I and hundreds of others have endured before, during and continuing to this day in the wake of the Larry Nassar abuse,” an emotional Biles told lawmakers, her voice choking with emotion.
Since Biles last competed, she married Green Bay Packers safety Jonathan Owens in a ceremony earlier this year.
When Biles takes the floor in suburban Chicago in a little more than six weeks, she’ll be joined by fellow Americans Sunisa Lee, who won gold the individual all-around in Tokyo, and Jade Carey, the floor exercise gold medalist two years ago.
“It is exciting to think about the level of talent and historical legacy of the field that may compete at U.S. Classic,” USA Gymnastics Chief Programs Officer Stefanie Korepin said in a statement. “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.”
Elisha Fieldstadt and Ali Gostanian contributed.