Biles, Ledecky, McLaughlin-Levrone all look for Olympic encores in Paris

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The city itself will be one of the brightest stars at the Paris Olympics, with ceremonies on the Seine, beach volleyball by the Eiffel Tower and a marathon route that passes through Versailles.

In the end, though, it will be the 10,500 athletes who will grab the spotlight once the festivities begin one year from Wednesday (July 26). Simone Biles is on a comeback, Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone never left. A skateboarder who also likes to surf named Sky Brown is in contention to win gold medals in two events some 9,000 miles apart (more on that in a moment) and Katie Ledecky is still swimming strong heading into her fourth Olympics.

simone biles


Simone Biles will be 27 by the time the Paris Games open, which is considered retirement age for most American female gymnasts. But Biles has been redefining what’s possible ever since she burst onto the scene 10 years ago. Her game-changing legacy included the decision to exit the competition at the Tokyo Olympics two years ago, conceding her mental health was not where it needed to be to risk her life in pursuit of an Olympic gold medal. Over the last two years, Biles took time off and got married. She recently committed to a comeback, and her first competition on that road is set for Aug. 5. That and a few other meets this year will give the world a sense of where Biles stands, but if she makes the Olympic team, she will go in as its biggest star.


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