Gymnastics News Weekly: Simone Biles will make appearance in hit TV series 'black-ish'

Plus, Russian Olympic champions set to resume training, NCAA gymnastics season continues, Kohei says goodbye, and a look back at Belarus at Atlanta 1996

By Scott Bregman
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Four-time Olympic gold medallist Simone Biles once again finds herself among good company.

The gymnastics superstar, who won team silver and balance beam bronze at last year's Olympic Games in Tokyo, is set to appear on the final season the hit ABC television series ‘black-ish.’

Former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama appeared in the show’s season opener on 3 January. Other guest stars in addition to Obama and Biles include 1992 Olympic basketball gold medallist Magic Johnson, Vivica A. Fox, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, as well as several members of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Biles has yet to publicly announce what’s next for her competitive gymnastics career, but has said she intends to take at least a year off, just as she did after the Rio 2016 Games.

“Right now, I'm trying to take it one step at a time. I really feel like I haven't fully got to process Tokyo yet. So, once I fully understand and process that, I'm sure it'll lead me towards which direction I want to go towards,” she told Olympics.com in September.

“In the back of my head, it's like, ‘Yeah, I'm going to do it’ but then my body and everything else tells me no,” Biles continued. “I have to gauge it. I'm not sure yet.”

Russian national team coach Valentina Rodionenko details return for Nikita Nagornyy, Artur Dalaloyan, Angelina Melnikova

Olympic team gold medallist Nikita Nagornyy, who also won all-around and horizontal bronze medals at Tokyo 2020 in 2021, has returned to the Russian national training center, according to a recent TASS interview with national team coach Valentina Rodionenko.

Nagornyy’s Olympic teammates David Belyavsky and Denis Ablyazin had previously resumed their training, while the final member of the gold-medal squad, Artur Dalaloyan, the 2018 world all-around champion, is set to this week.

For the women, Rodionenko says Tokyo team champions Vladislava Urazova and Viktoria Listunova, the 2021 European all-around champion, are back at it while 2021 world all-around gold medallist Angelina Melnikova enjoys some time off.

“As for Angelina Melnikova, we gave her the opportunity to rest,” said Rodionenko.

Previously, Melnikova and Rodionenko have indicated she will target a return to competition at August’s European Championships.

Rocky collegiate season continues into week two

After the first week of NCAA women’s gymnastics competition for the 2022 season, defending NCAA champions the University of Michigan sit atop the rankings, having earned a 197.750 in their opening competition. It was the program's best score ever in their first weekend.

The University of Florida (197.675) and the University of Oklahoma (197.400) round out the top three in the standings.

Tokyo 2020 all-around gold medallist Sunisa Lee made also made history in week one: becoming the first Olympic all-around gold medallist to compete in NCAA competition. She is just the third Olympic champion to compete in women's gymnastics, joining U.S. team gold medallists Kyla Ross (2012) and Madison Kocian (2016). Lee competes for Auburn University.

But the first week wasn't without its troubles, as several competitions were postponed or cancelled during to COVID-19 concerns, including the Collegiate Challenge competition which was meant to feature 2018 NCAA champs the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of California at Berkeley, among others.

Uchimura Kohei tells us "Everything I do is for and about gymnastics"

As he announced his retirement from a competitive career that included three Olympic gold medals, including back-to-back men's all-around titles, the Japanese gymnastics legend Uchimura Kohei told Olympics.com that he would remain in the sport, and will organise one last event in Tokyo in March.

Uchimura also shared that his success was due to his love for the sport, and that his fall at the Tokyo Games was 'a freak occurrence.'

In 2021, he competed at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo where he slipped off the apparatus on a pirouetting element and the 2021 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Kitakyushu, Japan, where his triumphant performance landed him sixth in the horizontal bar final.

Considered by most to be the greatest male gymnast of all time, Uchimura had been hampered by injuries since winning two gold medals at Rio 2016.

“I couldn’t train at the highest level anymore," said Uchimura Friday (14 January) in front of 150 reporters during a press conference streamed and televised live nationwide. “I’ve always taken pride in working harder than anyone in the world, holding the toughest practices. It was more about motivation, the mental side than the physical pain. I used to be able to grind it out. But once I couldn’t push myself to the level I had been, I knew it was time.

"This might be the end - but it's also the beginning".

From the vault...

This week, we look back at the Belarussian women’s team on the uneven bars at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. The squad finished sixth overall, with Elena Piskun leading the team during their optional rotation on the apparatus. 1988 and 1992 Olympic gold medallist Svetlana Boginskaya also competed for Belarus at these Games.

GO OLYMPIC. GET ALL THIS.

Free live sport events. Unlimited access to series. Unrivalled Olympic news & highlights.