(Antwerp) Freed from her “twisties”, the queen of gymnastics, the American Simone Biles, returns to the World Championships in Antwerp (Belgium) from Saturday, after a two-year break to take care of her health mental. With the Paris Olympic Games in mind.
Returning to business at the beginning of August, Biles demonstrated – if some doubted it – that she had lost none of her incredible level. She made a triumphant return to the United States, first by winning the US Classic, where she obtained the best scores on vault, floor and beam, then by winning a record-breaking eighth title in the all-around in his national championship.
At 26, she is preparing to break another record in Antwerp by becoming the first American to participate in six World Championships, a sign of extraordinary longevity.
The greatest gymnast of all time makes her return to the Flemish city on this occasion, where she opened her world tally ten years ago, winning four medals, including two gold.
“It’s amazing, I feel like I’m coming full circle because the World Championships were here ten years ago and it was my very first Worlds,” she said in an interview with the International Federation.
“It’s very exciting, I’m meeting people who were there in 2013, which is completely crazy. And to come back to the same room, in the same atmosphere, I think it’s going to be really fun and crazy. »
These Worlds come just over nine months before the Paris Olympics, where the four-time Olympic champion said recently that she would “love” to win more titles. “This is the path I would like to follow,” she told NBC television in early September, confirming for the first time since her return her goal of participating in the next Games.
The American has so far made an impressive comeback, two years after the grueling Tokyo Olympics. Arriving in Japan as the big favorite thanks to her four titles won five years earlier in Rio, Biles had broken down in full view, withdrawing from most of the events.
She then explained that she was fighting against “twisties”, temporary and sudden losses of any reference in space, which expose athletes to the risk of injury when they land.
If she left Japan with a silver medal in the team all-around and a bronze medal on the beam, her setbacks had mainly contributed to highlighting the subject of the mental health of athletes, long taboo.
“I think I need to take care of myself a little more and listen to my body,” she told NBC. “Making sure I make time for the important things in my life rather than doing business as usual and always pushing. »
“Now I decided to go to therapy, make sure everything works so that I do my best in training and also be a good wife, a good daughter, a good friend. All good things,” Biles added.
Her training partner in Houston, the Frenchwoman Mélanie De Jesus Dos Santos, sums up her two-year hiatus: “She made her own little life! »
“To see her at such a level, it’s quite impressive,” continued Mélanie “DJDS” to AFP. “But seeing as I’m training with her now, I think it’s less impressive than other people. Because I see how things go in training, I see when she succeeds, I see when she fails, I see when it’s hard. So for me she is a simple gymnast who works hard to achieve her goals. »
In Belgium, Simone Biles could expand her monumental collection of 19 world titles. To further perpetuate her legacy in gymnastics, she will also try to include a fifth element in her name in the code of the International Federation, which regulates the scoring of events.