Simone Biles qualified for the 2024 Olympics after winning the US trials

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — They all came back for a reason. Each of them.

While the gymnastics superstar prioritized her mental health and safety over glory, Simone Biles overcame those odds three years ago after two weeks in Japan, a decision that inspired some and maddened others.

Suni Lee proved all the gold she earned — perhaps most of all to herself — while Piles watched from the stands.

Jordan helped Chiles team secure silver at the 2020 Games.

Jade Carey will be an official member of the five-woman Olympic team after going to Tokyo as an individual qualifier, a path unavailable to the U.S. this time and one she apparently isn’t interested in exploring again anyway.

All of them return to the unique spotlight — oh, and 16-year-old newcomer Hesley Rivera — that only the game’s biggest stage can provide.

Their reasons are deeply personal. However, their motivation is not.

“It’s definitely our redemption trip,” Biles said after sewing up a third trip to the Olympics by winning the U.S. trials Sunday night. “I feel like we all have more to give.”

None other than Biles, at 27, the oldest American woman to make the Olympic gymnastics team since the 1950s. She never expected to do it nearly a decade after the crossover became a sensation at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Here she is. Still work. Still pushing. Not to shut up critics on social media wondering if he’ll ever “break out” again, but he’s determined to extract all he can from his remarkable talent.

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“No one forced me to do it,” said Biles, who posted a two-day total of 117.225 to lead the all-around by nearly six points over Lee. “I choose to wake up every day, grind in the gym, come out here and perform for myself. To remind myself that I can still do it.

And do it at a level that no one else in her game — and when she’s at her best, games in general — is a match.

A trip to France has never really been in doubt since Biles returned from a two-year hiatus last summer. All he has done in the past 12 months is win a sixth world all-around title and capture his eighth and ninth national championships – both achievements – while doing the hardest gymnastics of his life.

Although there is a lot of work ahead of the women’s qualifiers on July 28, when Percy steps onto the stage, she will be the favourite. There are still things to clean up in the next four weeks.

Piles recoiled after landing his Yurchenko double pikes vault, a testament to both the difficulty of the vault and the immense power he generates during the skill, something few male gymnasts attempt and keep even less clean.

While she wasn’t too disheartened during a sloppy performance on Friday, she jumped off the beam after failing to land her side aerial, uttering a gasp for all the world to see.

Biles finished with her signature event, the floor exercise. Despite being a small step across the border, there was an unprecedented world-class glitch that recently attracted an outcry. From pop star Taylor SwiftThe song “Ready For It” opens Biles’ routine.

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He stood up from the stage to a standing ovation, then sat down on the steps to take a moment in his last competitive round on American soil. Maybe sometime.

Biles brushed aside questions about what the future holds. It can wait. It’s been a long, winding road up to this point. She is intent on trying to enjoy being part of a team that has “a lot of weight on our shoulders.”

He believes she and her teammates are in the best position to handle it. That’s what lasted

“It’s great that Tokyo has given us that opportunity to open the platform for that talk,” Biles said. “So now I think the athletes are a little more in tune and we trust what our gut tells us.”

Biles’ gut told her that if she wanted to come back, she had to do it on her terms. It means taking deliberate steps to ensure that her life is no longer defined by her gymnastics.

She married Chicago Bears safety Jonathan Owens in the spring of 2023, and the two are building a home in the northern Houston suburbs shortly after Biles returned from Paris.

Biles heads to France as the face of the US Olympic movement, though she knows well that more than a few of the millions who will be watching next month will test whether the demons that derailed her in Tokyo resurface.

She put safeguards in place to protect herself — including at last year’s world championships — when there were still moments of anxiety. He sees a therapist weekly, even during the competitive season, something he hasn’t done in preparation for the 2020 Games.

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Biles’ unmatched longevity — she hasn’t lost a meet since 2013 — and the Americans will take their oldest women’s team to ease rules regarding name, likeness and uniform rules at the NCAA level. Carey (24), Chiles (23) and Lee (21) must simultaneously cash in on their newfound fame and continue the competition.

They rely on that experience during the sometimes grueling meet that saw the top contenders Shilize Jones, Sky Blakely And Kayla DiCello Walk away with leg injuries weeks before realizing a lifelong dream.

Watching good friends leave the arena in tears is a reminder of how thin the line between making it and not making it can be. Biles stayed on the right side of that line longer than she expected. She’s going to try and enjoy it, pressure and all.

She may have outdone herself in 2021. She is determined not to let that happen this time.

“I feel like I’m winning,” he said. “Now I feel like I competed in the Olympic trials and made the Paris Olympic team and won. So let’s check out from there.


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