Opening up to the Today show on Wednesday, the Olympic gymnast revealed the moment she found out that this year’s Summer Games had been postponed due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
“I was actually in the gym training at the time because we were allowed under 10 people, and I went to the locker and between rotations and I got a text,” she recalled. “I didn’t really know what to feel. I just kind of sat there. I cried but ultimately it was the right decision. We need to make sure everyone in the U.S. and around the world is healthy and safe. It was hard but it’s okay.”
On Monday, the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) executive board met to finalize the postponement and announced that the Summer Olympics were officially rescheduled for July 23 through August 8, 2021. They first announced the games would be postponed until 2021 because of the pandemic last week.
Ulrik Pedersen/NurPhoto via Getty Simone Biles
Japanese organizers and the IOC explained that the new dates would give health officials, as well as everyone involved with the Olympics, “the maximum time” to deal with the pandemic and disruption it has caused around the world.
Additionally, the new dates will provide “sufficient time” for athletes to finish the qualification process.
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When it comes to now preparing another year for the Olympics, Biles said she’s confident she will be physically ready for the Games but is worried about getting in the right headspace.
“Physically I have no doubts that my coaches will get me back in shape, but mentally going another year, I think that is what’s going to take the toll on me and all of us and most of the athletes,” she said on Today. “We have to stay in shape mentally just as much as physically. That will play a big factor moving forward, listening to your body and your mind.”
Matthias Schrader/AP/Shutterstock Simone Biles
The gold medalist is also virtually keeping in touch with her coaches while social distancing at home to “figure out a plan moving forward for the next year.”
“Other than that, they have sent us at-home workouts,” Biles said. “I’m also walking my dog a lot more. Just trying to stay healthy and in shape before we can return to the gym and start the training process again.”
“[I’m] doing more bodywork, so like arms, abs, legs. The other day I did a YouTube — it was like a twerk workout,” she added. “It was a twerkout, but it was like a lot of squats and conditioning.”
The delay is unprecedented, marking only the fourth time in modern Olympic history that the games have been disrupted. Still, the Summer Games will also continue to be called “Tokyo 2020,” even as they are moved to 2021.
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