Gymnast Simone Biles to retire after Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Simone Biles
Simone Biles

Simone Biles has revealed the painful cost of gymnastics greatness will contribute towards making next year's Tokyo Olympics her last.

The 22-year-old, who last year became the first woman to win four all-around world titles in Qatar, is adamant there is no chance of extending her extraordinary reign beyond next year.

Citing a series of relatively minor injuries and a strenuous training programme which have left her body feeling like it is "falling apart", Biles is already planning for her future beyond the sport.

Biles told Press Association Sport: "I definitely plan for the Tokyo Olympics to be my last.

"I feel like my body's gone through a lot and it's kind of just falling apart - not that you can actually tell but I really feel it a lot of the time.

"I am in pain most of the time but it kind of feels right because if you are not in pain, it is almost like you could be doing more."

Biles, the most decorated gymnast in World Championships history, is in London to perform an exhibition and act as a judge at the 'Superstars of Gymnastics' event at the O2 Arena on Saturday, alongside double Rio gold medallist Max Whitlock.

But while Biles has a clear sight of the end of her career, the same cannot be said for the 26-year-old Whitlock, who is seeking to extend his dominance through at least two more Games.

To that end, Whitlock is taking tips from other successful veterans such as Japanese great Kohei Uchimura, who has won all-around medals at the last three Olympics and is aiming for a fourth in his home city next year.

"As I get older I'm looking at a lot of gymnasts who are older than me and learning from what they've done," added Whitlock.

"I've spent a lot of time reducing my hours in order to continue my career. I want to go on for at least another six more years, to two more Olympics.

"I'm sure Simone could do it too. She is is a massive inspiration. In every Olympic cycle you get youngsters coming through and every generation should get better, so to stay on top that long makes you special."

The London event features a series of innovations designed to appeal to a younger audience, including a 'golden buzzer' to herald the awarding of double points, and no restrictions on elements of performance or choreography.

Despite the sport battling for relevance in an Olympic world increasingly dominated by so-called 'lifestyle' sports such as skateboarding and surfing, Biles cautioned against the temptation for constant change.

"I think once you bring the fun into it you lose a little bit of the difficulty, so it's not so possible," said Biles. "We are judging based on how fun it is and the creativity, but real, elite gymnastics is probably not the same."

Biles has evolved into an outspoken advocate for her sport both in and out of competition, having taken a leading role in defending the victims of the sexual abuse perpetrated by the former US Gymnastics team doctor, Larry Nassar.

But Biles, who spoke last year of feeling "empowered" after speaking out about the abuse she herself suffered from Nassar, said she does not believe that horrific cycle of events will prevent countless other young gymnasts striving to emulate her.

"I feel like since it happened in the US, the gymnastics world took a really hard hit," admitted Biles.

"But I feel like you hear horror stories in every other sport too. Besides the amount of people it affected, it happens in the everyday world."

Like what you've read?
Help your friends Know It All by sharing this article to your social media.

Most Read

Brooks Koepka with the PGA Championship trophy1

Koepka clings on as DJ falters

Brooks Koepka held on to win the 101st PGA Championship - but only after a serious wobble. Ben Coley reports on the action.

Gareth Bale on the bench at Real Madrid2

Bale nearing Real exit?

Gareth Bale looks like being a step nearer leaving Real Madrid after he was left on the bench in their final-day defeat, with Zinedine Zidane later saying the Welshman dd not fit into his team.

Action from Windsor3

Monday's racing preview

There's still time for Dream Of Dreams to punch his ticket for Royal Ascot, according Keith Hamer.

We celebrate the best bets that have come in over weekend4

Weekend Winners

One Sky Bet football punter won over £22K after an ante-post special, while our racing tipsters were in fine form over the weekend.

Nap Of The Day5

Daily Nap: Ram raid

A progressive gelding for the Richard Fahey team has caught the eye of our Matt Brocklebank on Monday.

Most Read

Brooks Koepka with the PGA Championship trophy1

Koepka clings on as DJ falters

Brooks Koepka held on to win the 101st PGA Championship - but only after a serious wobble. Ben Coley reports on the action.

Gareth Bale on the bench at Real Madrid2

Bale nearing Real exit?

Gareth Bale looks like being a step nearer leaving Real Madrid after he was left on the bench in their final-day defeat, with Zinedine Zidane later saying the Welshman dd not fit into his team.

Action from Windsor3

Monday's racing preview

There's still time for Dream Of Dreams to punch his ticket for Royal Ascot, according Keith Hamer.

We celebrate the best bets that have come in over weekend4

Weekend Winners

One Sky Bet football punter won over £22K after an ante-post special, while our racing tipsters were in fine form over the weekend.

Nap Of The Day5

Daily Nap: Ram raid

A progressive gelding for the Richard Fahey team has caught the eye of our Matt Brocklebank on Monday.

Racing Tips

Action from Windsor

Monday's racing preview

There's still time for Dream Of Dreams to punch his ticket for Royal Ascot, according Keith Hamer.

Nap Of The Day

Daily Nap: Ram raid

A progressive gelding for the Richard Fahey team has caught the eye of our Matt Brocklebank on Monday.

The Dash is a great spectacle at Epsom

Antepost Angle: Investec Dash

Matt Brocklebank looks ahead to the fiercely competitive Investec Dash at Epsom on Derby day, with a 33/1 selection in the big sprint handicap.

Next Race Off

10:55 Nancy
6
(0)
Gondole Guerchaise
J: F Desmigneux
12
(0)
Gentleman Coglais
J: B Marie
10
(0)
Gloria De Joudes
J: A Laurent

Football Tips

John Higgins

Sporting Life Tipping Record

A look at how the Sporting Life recommended bets have performed in May 2019.

A view of Uttoxeter racecourse

Our best bets

Check out Sporting Life's best bets across racing, football and more.

Lee Bowyer

Sky Bet League One semi-final tips

The final round of second leg play-off games see two sides hold one goal leads in Sky Bet League One. Tom Carnduff picks out his best bets.