Exclusive! Simone Biles on Tokyo 2020 fame: "I kind of see it coming"

The four-time Olympic champion opens up about the pressure of being the world's best

3 min By Scott Bregman
Simone Biles GettyImages-1180784079

Simone Biles knows that competing against her isn’t easy.

“Some of the girls talk about it and they're like, it's just not fair,” Biles told Olympic Channel Monday.

Biles also knows she likely will be the star of this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo and admits it can be overwhelming.

“I kind of see it coming,” she said before admitting that she has struggled mentally in practice, not going for one of her catch-and-release elements on the uneven bars.

“Having breakdowns, pretending to forget how to do my skills,” said Biles. “That's where we're at right now.”

She's faced similar issues before, including in the lead up to the Olympics in 2016 and early last season.

“2019, at the beginning of the year, I forgot how to twist and flip. It was great,” she said. That season culminated with near perfection at the World Championships where she earned five of a possible six gold medals.

“I think we're in a good position right now,” she said. “I just got over it like Saturday.”

For better or worse Biles is fully aware of what lies ahead of her in the Olympic year, even if she wasn’t always sure she’d be going through it all again.

“It's kind of crazy because in 2016, I wouldn't imagine that I would be back doing this process again,” she said.

Since Biles’ World debut in 2013, only one woman – Morgan Hurd – has stood atop the medals podium in the all-around at the World Championships or Olympics. That domination has been untested: Biles even notched the title at the 2018 world championships after falling during two of the four rotations. Her margin of victory could have afforded her a third fall.

Her road to Tokyo

“Sometimes I feel bad because I feel like if I weren't here, whoever was second would win, so I do feel bad that it's just like plastered everywhere, Simone all the time,” she said.

“But I've also worked really hard to get here.”

That hard work and pressure is the part the public doesn’t see behind the magic Biles creates when she hits the competition floor and leaves with golds around her neck, all the while making it look effortless.

Biles plans to start her 2020 campaign at a World Cup in April before a trio of U.S. domestic events, culminating in late June’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials in St. Louis.

Then it’s off to the make more history at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. A repeat of October’s dominate performance at the World Championships would give Biles a total of nine Olympic golds, tying her with the Soviet Union’s Larissa Latynina for most all time in gymnastics

“If it looks like 2019 worlds, I'd be very pleased,” she said.

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