Simone Biles won’t be representing only America at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. She’ll also be representing survivors of sexual abuse, especially the many victims of disgraced Team USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar—a group that includes Biles.
With 100 days to go before the 2021 Games begin, Biles spoke to Hoda Kotb of Today about what her return to the Olympic stage means. “I knew I had more to give to the sport for myself and I felt like I had a purpose…God called me,” the history-making, four-time gold medalist revealed. “I just feel like [with] everything that happened, I just had to come back to the sport, to be a voice, to have change happen.”
Biles said representing the gymnasts of the Nassar period is one of the factors motivating her to continue. “I feel like, if there weren’t a remaining survivor in the sport, they would have just brushed it to the side,” she said. “But since I’m still here and I have quite a social media presence and platform, they have to do something. So I feel like coming back, gymnastics just wasn’t the only purpose I was supposed to do.”
Kotb later added Biles had mentioned she was concerned that, with Nassar in jail, people could think the scandal is “over.” But Biles relayed to her that she feels there are still many changes needed to be made in the sport.
As for the pressures of being the female gymnast to watch, Simone Biles says it’s “stressful” having no peers at her level because she’s always “trying to beat [herself].” When asked whether she was beatable by anyone other than herself, Biles only smiled and replied, “You just never know.”
The Tokyo Olympic Games kick off Friday, July 23, 2021, and will run through August 8, 2021.