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US great Biles set to return after two-year absence

Simon Biles on the beam
Simone Biles has a combined total of 32 Olympic and World Championship medals

Four-time Olympic gold medallist Simone Biles is set to make her return to competitive gymnastics at the 2023 US Classic in August.

The 26-year-old, who has not competed since the delayed 2020 Olympics in Tokyo in 2021, took a break from the sport to work on her mental health.

The American withdrew from five of her six finals in Tokyo over mental health and safety concerns.

It is not yet known if she will compete at next year’s Olympics in Paris.

The US Classic from August 4-5 is a warm-up event to the national championships.

“Registration… does not guarantee participation,” USA Gymnastics said.

Biles made her Olympic debut at Rio 2016, where she won all four of her Olympic titles as well as a bronze medal.

After a hiatus in 2017, nine more world titles followed in 2018 and 2019, and she was expected to win more golds at Tokyo 2020 – postponed to 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

But Biles pulled out of the Olympic women’s team final after completing her vault and subsequently withdrew from five of her six finals.

She later explained she had the ‘twisties’ – a dangerous mental block in which gymnasts lose their orientation in the air.

However, she did return to compete on the balance beam and won bronze.

Following the conclusion of the Games she announced she would be stepping back from the sport but was not retiring.

She has spoken candidly over the years about being abused by team doctor Larry Nassar, who is now serving a life sentence in jail.

In 2021 she won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year’s Lifetime Achievement Award and has since received the US Presidential Medal of Freedom from Joe Biden.

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