Following a turbulent Olympic Games in 2021, gymnast Simone Biles stepped away from the sport she dominated for years.
She suffered a series of setbacks during qualifications during the COVID-19 delayed Tokyo Olympics. Biles later took to social media, where she wrote that she felt “the weight of the world on [her] shoulders,” at the time. She eventually withdrew from the competition.
But she returned to international competition this year. She picked up right where she left off, winning the gold medal in the women’s all-around final at the World Championships in October.
The iconic American athlete recently revealed that at one point she thought her gymnastics career was over.
“It honestly feels amazing to return to competition, I never thought I would compete again, so this is a blessing,” Biles told PEOPLE. “My favorite moment has been competing alongside my (World Champions Centre) WCC teammates.”
In 2016, Biles had one of the most impressive showings by an American athlete at an Olympic competition in history. She brought home four gold medals at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
In the summer of 2021, Biles opened up her experience with “twisties” in Tokyo.
“It’s the craziest feeling ever. Not having an inch of control over your body,” Biles said on Instagram at the time. “What’s even scarier is since I have no idea where I am in the air, I also have NO idea how I am going to land. Or what I am going to land on. Head/hands/feet back…,” she wrote at the time.
Biles described the situation as “petrifying.”
“It’s honestly petrifying trying to do a skill but not having your mind & body in sync,” she continued, adding, “10/10 do not recommend.”
“The twisties” is a condition that many gymnasts have described as a loss of control of their bodies while they are making twists in the air. Typically, those who experience it will involuntarily create an additional twist that they otherwise would not have done.
In some instances, a gymnast could even stop midway through a routine without any prior warning.
Biles married Green Bay Packers safety Jonathan Owens earlier this year. Owens spent the past couple of seasons playing for Biles’ hometown Houston Texans.
“I’ve never been so nervous before in my life. [But,] I felt confident walking down the aisle. Seeing Jonathan at the altar was a dream. Our guests were cheering for everyone. I was shocked by the love in the air. The ceremony was so beautiful and dreamy!” Biles recalled to Vogue.
Biles made an appearance at the Packers game in Week 13 and watched Owens and Green Bay defeat the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.