Gymnastics Weekly News: Simone Biles joins Olympic legends on cereal box

Plus, Becky Downie reveals Achilles tendon tear and a look back at the Sydney 2000 women's balance beam final

By Scott Bregman

Seven-time Olympic gymnastics medallist Simone Biles is joining another exclusive club.

The 24-year-old, who won four gold medals at the Rio 2016 Games, is featured on a new Wheaties cereal box in the US, as part of the brand’s Century Collection series. Other athletes part of the series include Olympic champions Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan.

“I’m honored to share with you that I’m joining a very unique club in landing my first Wheaties box,” said Biles in a video posted to her Instagram. “I’m thrilled to be on the third and final box in this series proudly representing today’s athletes in what it means to be a Wheaties Champion.”

“Simone is so much more than an awe-inspiring gymnast – she’s an advocate, a teammate, a role model and the embodiment of both the future of sports and a Wheaties Champion,” said Kathy Dixon, senior brand experience manager for the cereal maker.

Biles is the 11th USA gymnast to be featured on the iconic box. The other 10 gymnasts are Mary Lou Retton, Amanda Borden, Amy Chow, Dominique Dawes, Shannon Miller, Jaycie Phelps, Kerri Strug, Carly Patterson, and Nastia Liukin.

With 32 world and Olympic medals, Biles is the second most decorated gymnast of all time behind Vitaly Scherbo. At Tokyo 2020 in 2021, she made the decision to withdraw from several medal rounds to prioritise her mental health before returning for the balance beam final. She won a bronze medal in that final.

As the one year anniversary of the Tokyo Games approaches, Biles has yet to publicly declare if she plans to train for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

“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,” she told Olympics.com in September. “So, once I fully understand and process that, I'm sure it'll lead me towards which direction I want to go towards.

“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.”

Becky Downie out with Achilles tear

Two-time Olympian Becky Downie of Team GB announced Wednesday that she had torn her Achilles tendon.

“The longest day getting results and a lot of time to process,” she wrote in a post on social media. “Yesterday, I ruptured my other Achilles tendon. There aren’t words for it right now, but I’ve been here before and I know I can come back from anything if I put my mind to it.”

Downie, 30, previously tore her Achilles in 2011. The injury this week comes nearly three months after having competed in the all-around for the first time in eight years at the British championships. She placed sixth there.

“Extremely grateful to have the best team of people around me, who I know will do everything they can to get me back as soon as possible,” the post continued. “The book is becoming an encyclopedia 😅….. next chapter 🖤”

From the vault…

This week, we look back at the women’s balance beam final from Sydney 2000 where China’s Liu Xuan captured the gold medal. Last up, Liu delivered a 9.825 to move ahead of Russian teammates Ekaterina Lobaznyuk and Yelena Produnova.

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