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For a gymnast, there are few things more important than having spatial awareness. Imagine doing a routine involving flips, jumps, and twists, and while performing it, you lose sight of everything around you – where the mat is, where your body’s supposed to land. All of it. Yes, muscle memory takes over at some point, but until then, spatial awareness is a gymnast’s best friend. Well, that loss – commonly referred to as “twisties” – made Simone Biles withdraw from the Tokyo Olympics. It’s what made her feel like the world would hate her.

Turns out, it was the exact opposite. “I had no idea where I was in the air. I could have hurt myself,” Biles said at the time. “I thought the world is going to hate me. That was my first thought. I thought I was going to be banned from America.” Instead, she received tons of support from almost everyone who heard her story, including Irish gymnast Rhys McClenaghan, who not only supported Biles but also empathized with her.

24-year-old McClenaghan secured automatic qualification for the Paris Olympics by retaining the pommel horse title at the World Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp in October 2023. When Simone Biles got the “twisties” – planning a 2½ twist but only managing 1½ before losing her bearings in the vault – McClenaghan was making his Olympic debut, finishing seventh in the pommel horse event in Tokyo. When he learned about what the American was going through following her withdrawal, she spoke up (or rather, wrote) in support of her.

“Mental blocks ain’t no joke, I’ve experienced this firsthand throughout my career, and they are still the most challenging times I’ve faced,” he tweeted on X, adding, “Only people who have experienced this can fully understand the stress that comes with it.” Since then, three years have passed, and McClenaghan himself has been diligently working on his mental approach.

As reported by the Irish Independent, Rhys McClenaghan faced a significant challenge when he suffered a panic attack for the first time just weeks before his gold medal triumph at the 2023 World Gymnastics Championships. However, he acknowledged the importance of collaborating with his coach, Luke Carson, and sports psychologist, Jessie Barr, especially after a difficult time at the 2023 Paris World Cup. Recalling his experience, McClenaghan shared, “My body was completely healthy, I was physically ready, but my mind wasn’t quite happy if I’m honest.”

This was similar to what Simone Biles had said when critics called her out for quitting. “For anyone saying I quit, I didn’t quit. My mind & body are simply not in sync.” Considering how dangerous competing in that state can be for one’s safety, she added, “I put health first.” As for Rhys McClenaghan, he continued, Even in the warm-up before my routine in Paris, I was more nervous than I had ever been before – and, quite honestly, had a bit of a panic attack before I competed. It was a very strange feeling – a feeling that I had never experienced before.”

Despite this challenge, McClenaghan persevered and conquered it and is now vying for Parisian glory, much like Biles envisioned after the Tokyo 2020 withdrawal. The American probably had the worst time dealing with the debilitating “twisties.” It can be likened to the yips in golf (an involuntary, unforeseen wrist muscle spasm), hindering players from performing optimally. British gymnast Claudia Fragapane seemed to have undergone something similar.

She competed in Rio 2016 and fell on the uneven bars and the balance beam. Fragapane even emphatically quipped to the BBC: “[I] understand exactly how Simone was feeling. It’s really dangerous if you doubt yourself a little bit or you find it really hard. You can really, really hurt yourself. I’ve been in her shoes, and I ended up hurting myself.” And she’s not the only one. Former gymnast Jacoby Miles had a tumultuous bout of the “twisties” mid-air, where she struck her neck, only to break it in the process.

In a post on Instagram, Miles wrote, “It only took one time of getting lost in the air for me to break my neck and leave me paralyzed, most likely for life.” She exclaimed that Biles’ hiatus was justified. “I’m so so glad [Biles] decided to not continue until she’s mentally recovered.” Now, it looks like Simone Biles is back to her dominating self, where her mind and body are in complete sync.

Simone Biles rises akin to a phoenix from the ashes

Simone Biles dazzled the world with her comeback at the 2023 World Championships in Belgium, snagging an impressive four gold medals and reaffirming her unmatched talent in gymnastics. Starting off this season with a bang, she cruised to victory at the Core Hydration Classics, leaving no doubt about her readiness for the upcoming Olympics. She took home the all-around title with a dominant 59.500, courtesy of a gold medal-winning performance on the floor and silvers on the uneven bars and balance beam.

With Paris on the horizon, Biles is pouring her heart and soul into training, determined to leave the ghosts of Tokyo behind. She shared her newfound focus on self-care and balancing life’s priorities. She continues to dominate events like the U.S. Classics and Xfinity Championship this year, even winning a record ninth all-around title.

As she put it after winning the Xfinity Championship, “Just making sure I’m healthy mentally and physically, and I think at this point, mentally is just as important as I physically feel. So just making sure I go to my therapy sessions weekly.” The world eagerly awaits her moment of glory, anticipating another unforgettable performance from the incomparable Simone Biles.

 

The Xfinity Gymnastics Championships has seen some high-profile withdrawals just before the Olympic Trials. The latest addition to this list is 18-year-old Kaliya Lincoln. Just months after her exceptional silver medal performance behind gymnastics superstar Simone Biles at the 2023 U.S. Gymnastics Championships, Lincoln’s Paris Olympics dreams hit a potential roadblock at the final major meet before June’s Trials.

Lincoln’s journey on the mat has been nothing short of remarkable. However, in a surprising turn of events, she has put a sudden pause to her ascending career by withdrawing from the Xfinity U.S. Gymnastics Championships after the first two rotations and petitioning for a Trials spot. This unexpected development raises questions about whether Lincoln, will be in peak form as she vies for one of the coveted spots for Paris.

Kaliya Lincoln has withdrawn from the second day of #XfinityChamps and has petitioned to compete at Olympic Trials read the X post by USA Gymnastics. Lincoln’s surprise exit robs her of valuable qualification points and casts a cloud over her Trials readiness just weeks out. The Xfinity meet had been her final chance to boost her national team claims before the Paris 2024 roster is finalized at Trials on June 27-30.

This year Lincoln has competed in the Winter Cup and the Core Hydration Classic. On both occasions she ended up as the silver medalist in the floor exercise. Dubbed Biles’ likely successor after matching the GOAT’s senior career with a senior debut at the 2023 Winter Cup, winning gold on floor, Lincoln has grown as a performer.

She won two gold medals at the Pan American Games in Chile last year. Earlier, she won the silver medal on the floor exercise at the U.S. Classic, tied with Joscelyn Roberson. She then finished second in the U.S. National Gymnastics Championships, with only superstar Simone Biles in front of her, showcasing what she is capable of.

She has achieved this success despite suffering a setback in 2021. A stress fracture in her shin at the end of the year took her out of competition for the start of the 2022. This was followed by a diagnosis of osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) in her knees that would require surgery, effectively ending her season. However, Lincoln came back strong next year with her winning effort at the Winter Cup.

Lincoln started her journey at the age of five after being inspired by watching US Gymnastics icon Gabby Douglas on live TV. Her journey with Douglas started on the TV program “Undercover Boss: Celebrity Edition.” In disguise, the veteran gymnast helped three young athletes seeking to reach her success, including Lincoln. Douglas then coached Lincoln and the two have been friends ever since.

The Xfinity Championships also saw Shilese Jones withdrawing citing a flared up shoulder injury. Interestingly, Douglas also withdrew from the meet at the very start, citing an ankle injury, which ended her Paris dreams.

Lincoln may also be forced to watch from home after her untimely Xfinity withdrawal. USA Gymnastics stayed tight-lipped on the specifics behind her withdrawal, offering no update on potential injuries or other issues. Still, there is a new journey awaiting Lincoln this fall.

Kaliya Lincoln to join LSU Tigers in the fall

While she has withdrawn from the Xfinity Championships and petitioning for the Trials, her future is secure. Lincoln will begin the next phase of her career as an LSU Tiger later this year. She committed to the school following her official visit last fall. On November 8, 2023, she signed her National Letter of Intent to confirm her status as a Tiger.

Speaking about her decision she said, “As soon as I was able to talk with the coaches, they were super nice and really supportive with all my goals, so as soon as I went on campus and got to meet all the girls and see the environment and campus I knew that was the place I wanted to be.”

She will aim to bring success for her team, but for now Paris will be in focus. Given her impressive recent run, Lincoln’s withdrawal might be signaling not a retreat but a strategic pivot as she aims for Olympic glory.

UPDATE-

Shortly after the Xfinity gymnastics competition concluded on June 2, Sunday evening, USA Gymnastics announced that they approved Kaliya Lincoln’s petition to take part in the upcoming U.S. Olympic trials scheduled for later this month. It is anticipated that Lincoln will join Simone Biles, Skye Blakely, as well as 13 other gymnasts at the trials, which will commence on June 27th in the city of Minneapolis.

Simone Biles not only won her historic ninth U.S. all-around title, but she also won hearts at the 2024 U.S. Championships. Amidst the competition’s intensity, a touching moment unfolded when her Tokyo Olympics teammate, Suni Lee, faced a setback after her vault routine during the first rotation.

As the competition progressed, Biles, a supportive friend, was spotted on the sidelines, standing near Lee’s apparatuses, cheering her on with kind encouragement. Simone Biles later disclosed that her own experience with the Tokyo ‘Twisties’ and the inherent danger of falling from the vault fueled her instinct to rush to Suni’s side, understanding all too well the potential impact of such a situation.

In a post-championship press conference shared by USA Gymnastics on Instagram, Biles sat flanked by her coaches, Laurent Landi and Cecile Landi, gracefully fielding questions that lingered in fans’ minds. However, a particular exchange stood out—a heartfelt moment when Biles was asked about her interaction with Lee after her vault and uneven bar routines.

Reflecting on their shared moment, Biles recounted, “After Suni vaulted, I knew exactly what was going through her head. I dealt with that in Tokyo, so I just knew she needed some encouragement and somebody to trust her gymnastics for her and to believe in her, so that’s exactly what I did.

She continued, “I went back there and went to talk to her, and I was like, ‘Did you get lost? Or did you just decide to do a one-and-a-half?’ So we kind of just asked that, and I was like, ‘Don’t overthink your gymnastics; you’re fine.’” Biles further revealed her gesture of solidarity, saying how she even told Suni Lee, “If you want me to stand over there for bars,” and said Suni asked her, “Can you please stand over there for bars?” So that’s why Simone went over for bars as well.

Biles explained her empathetic stance, “Because I’ve been in her shoes, I’ve done that exact thing, and I know how traumatizing it is, especially on a big stage like this. And I didn’t want her to get in her head, so we just went and talked about it while she was in the back, and then when she came out, I went to support her.” However, there’s more to the story than meets the eye.

Simone Biles and Suni Lee have been ride or die pretty much their entire lives now, at-least after crossing paths as revered gymnasts. It also seems to be that Simone Biles’ love language is acts of service and gift giving. Biles once took note of Lee and the latter’s relationship with her dad in 2021, which struck a chord with the former and she decided to surprise him as well, coming in clutch.

Biles decided to, on a whim, do something nice for Lee’s father who also unfortunately happens to be paraplegic from the chest down. Suni Lee’s father, John Lee was paralyzed in 2019 and Biles decided to gift him a sliver of her life. People from Quantum Rehab were brought out to cheer John on along with a snazzy and a swanky electric chair custom fitted for him. Biles escorted the help of the Today Show for the same and brought about waves of happiness permeating through Lee’s family.

Simone Biles bemoaned ecstatically that –“Hi, Mr. Lee, it’s Simone. I love your daughter, Suni, so much and I know how much she loves you,” she said in a video John watched from a tablet. “You have done so much for her so I reached out to my friends at the Today show to see if we could do something special for you. Hope you like it.” With this pretty much solidifying why Biles is a true blue messiah and the greatest friend there is, Paris with this duo will be one to watch out for as we get to witness their collaborative spirit in action.

As we reflect on these words, it’s evident that Simone Biles has undergone significant personal growth. She effectively processed her own trauma and extended her support to her teammates in similar situations. Now, let’s delve into how the evening unfolded for Suni following Biles’ remarkable support display.

Suni Lee’s progress on Day 2 of the 2024 U.S. Championships

In rotation one on Day 2 of the Senior Women’s competition, Suni Lee struggled with her vault, scoring 12.150 after apparently getting lost in the air during her Yurchenko 1.5 and sitting it. However, she showcased her strength on the uneven bars, earning a solid score of 14.500 with an impressive routine that included a Van Leeuwen, blind change to straddle Jaeger to Pak to Maloney to Gienger, and a toe full to full-in dismount with a small hop.

Moving to the balance beam, Suni Lee displayed finesse and precision, earning a commendable score of 14.900. Her routine featured highlights such as a front aerial to split jump to back handspring and a solid side aerial loso series, ending with a stuck gainer full dismount. Finally, when moving to the floor exercise, Suni scored 13.350.

Overall, Suni Lee’s all-around score placed her in 4th place, totaling 110.650 points. As these two remarkable women stand on the cusp of another Olympic team.

As the dust settles after the Core Hydration Classic and Xfinity US Gymnastics Championships, the gymnastic pomp is set to move to Minneapolis this month. The trials there will choose five from the pool of sixteen gymnasts for the US women’s national gymnastics team, bound for the Paris Olympics. However, after both the classic contests, Simone Biles seems to enter the squad without hassle.

The 7-time Olympic medalist has not only scored big numbers in both Hartford and Fort Worth but also her dominance has roused so much attraction. However, Suni Lee’s rise is not something to be missed. Despite such factors, one of the Reddit posts has recently displayed that Shilese Jones has a higher chance over Simone Biles and others to make it big in the upcoming days.

Such a statement has been backed by the recent hit rates of Shilese Jones who stand tall compared to Simone Biles. The principal logic that has helped to calculate the hit rates is the absence of a “very large deduction” (-1 point in E score) in a single skill. The consistency in the performance has also had its own tale to define the hit rate. In the Reddit post, the duration to calculate the hit rates has been taken from September 2023-June 2024 and in this timeline, Shilese Jones has a hit rate of 92% compared to Simone Biles’ 88.235%. Noteworthy, in this duration, Shilese Jones has had staggering numbers in the world championships and national championships. Noticing that part, one Reddit user has commented, “I understand that rationale for Shi – who has been the closest thing to a lock after Simone for the past 2 years. Shi had nothing to prove or gain.”

I’m not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps. I’m the first Simone Biles. And with that, the seven-time Olympian has punched her tickets to Minneapolis for the 2024 Gymnastics Olympic Trials. Her journey to the Paris Olympics is the most talked-about comeback in the sport, especially after her exit from the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 due to the ‘Twisties’ and mental health struggles. Soon after the Olympics, Simone Biles, along with McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, and Maggie Nichols, testified against former USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.

She linked her setbacks at the Tokyo Olympics to her struggle to recover mentally after being abused by Nassar, saying, As a recent competitor in the Tokyo Games who was a survivor of this horror, I can assure you the impacts of this man’s abuse are not over or ever forgotten. Now, as she inches closer to her third Olympics, let’s explore how she has transformed these horrifying experiences into the driving force behind her athletic success.

At the post-2024 U.S. National Championship Press Conference, Simone Biles answered blazing questions seated amid her coaches, Laurent and Cécile Landi. A standout moment came when a reporter asked about the biggest change in her training and her mindset for this Olympic cycle.

Simone Biles responded, “Well, first, I do a lot of therapy. Every time I’m in therapy, if I’m like, “Oh, I’m going to die,” she’s like, “Don’t say that, that’s not good to rehearse. It’s not good to say that.” Or whatever negative thoughts I have, she’s like, “This is therapy, it’s an open space, but please don’t say that, you can’t remind yourself that.”

Reflecting on her experience leading up to the 2016 Olympics, Simone mentioned there was an advantage to competing blindly. She didn’t know much, and the expectations were lower. This made the experience less stressful. However, after participating in two Olympics, the stress increased because she now knew exactly what to expect and had higher expectations for herself. Now, with a clear understanding of the qualifications and expectations, she acknowledged the beauty in the ignorance she had before.

She focused on controlling what she could. Reflecting on these words, seeing the incredible growth achieved over the past three years through self-care and therapy is inspiring. Let’s revisit how she bravely opened up about her trauma and how the abuse she endured contributed to her darkest days.

In January 2018, Simone Biles courageously revealed in a Twitter post, I am not afraid to tell my story anymore. I too am one of the many survivors that was sexually abused by Larry Nassar. Following Nassar’s conviction, in 2021, Biles bravely opened up about her mental trauma in the fourth episode of her Facebook Watch docu-series, Simone vs. Herself.

She painfully recounted experiencing thoughts of suicide during this dark period. With tears in her eyes, she shared, I remember telling my mom and my agent that I slept all the time, and it’s basically because sleeping was basically better than offing myself.” Simone Biles described feeling deeply depressed and isolating herself, not wanting to leave her room or interact with others.

Her mother, Nellie, noted that Simone was initially in denial and would become very upset when attempts were made to discuss the issue. Understanding the need for patience, Nellie gave her daughter space until she felt ready to talk. When Simone eventually opened up, Nellie recalled that she was very emotional, and they shared a moment of tears, understanding, and support.

Over time, Simone Biles developed coping strategies to manage her feelings with the help of therapy. Today, she stands as a powerful advocate for those who have faced similar challenges and continues to dominate the gymnastics mat, breaking barriers as the oldest woman at 27 to win the all-around national title. Despite the criticism and trauma she faced after the Tokyo Olympics, her words following the 2024 U.S. National Championship show the incredible growth she has found in turning her vulnerabilities into strengths.

In a dazzling display of skill and determination, Simone Biles triumphed at the 2024 Xfinity Championship, cementing her status as a gymnastics legend. On Day 1 of the Xfinity Games, the reigning world champion dominated with a total score of 60.450, securing a significant lead over the second-place gymnast. Her top-notch Olympic preparation is evident in the precise execution of her routines.

Biles’ performance demonstrated unrivaled talent and highlighted why investing in her skills is incredibly rewarding. It’s no wonder then that fans from around the world come to get a glimpse of her. A dedicated gymnastics couple traveled 10,000 miles to witness the brilliance of the championship and support their icon, Simone Biles, amidst an ecstatic crowd.

Recently, Scott Bregman shared a picture of a couple posing during the US National Championships on his X handle. The two women wore matching shirts that read, “We Flew 10500 Miles for Biles”. Bregman introduced them in his caption, “Courtney Wright and Zara Stanes traveled more than 10,000 miles and for nearly two days to watch @Simone_Biles at the U.S. Championships. They made it, slept three hours, and now they’re front and center as she goes for title No. 9.” Starting their journey from Perth on Wednesday afternoon, the couple embarked on a more than 10,000-mile trip.

They first flew to Singapore, which took about five-and-a-half hours, before continuing to Los Angeles, adding another 15 hours of travel time. Unfortunately, their plans were disrupted by weather delays the following morning, extending what was supposed to be a two-and-a-half-hour trip to Ft. Worth into “an eight hour ordeal”. However, this hiccup did little to dampen their spirits. Wright later told Olympics.com that they saw a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and decided to grab it.

Despite the long journey and minimal sleep, Courtney and Zara were thrilled to be at the championships, eagerly anticipating the opportunity to witness Simone Biles compete for her ninth title. Wright stated, “The journey really began when Simone came back last year, and I went, ‘This is it. We’ve got I feel like one more opportunity to see her compete in person’”. She further added, “I messaged Zara because she’s always willing to go along with my crazy ideas, and I said, ‘Let’s go to nationals next year.’” 

Biles finished the first day of competition with an astounding 3-point lead from first runner-up Skye Bakely. She even bested her own Core Hydration Classics score of 59.500 with a new 60.450 points. This is the highest score put up by any female athlete in the Olympic Cycle. It also broke the 60.00 score mark that was set since the 2021 US Olympic trials. Fulfilling Wright and Stanes’ wishes, she performed a Yurchenko double pike on the vault that gained her the highest score of the night at 15.800.

Simone Biles kept getting better as she secured 14.650 on uneven bars, 14.800 on balance beams, and finally 15.200 on the floor. Biles is just 4 routines away from making history as she gears up for her 9th US Crown title. Her routines were a breathtaking affair, and surely, her fans are more than happy to have witnessed such a long ordeal and witnessed it.

The timeless affection for Simone Biles over the years

Biles’ fans have always shown their admiration for her through sweet gestures. During an NFL Packers game last year, one fan dressed in a frozen cheese costume made a gift for Simone. It was a goat hat wearing a purple shirt with Olympics rings on the arm. The fan said, “You’re the greatest of all time (GOAT). I had to make you something, okay? You are the GOAT. This is for you.” It was a very wholesome interaction as Biles put the hat on her head. Even off-court, the adoration is evident. One creative director from LA Thomas R Wood shared a post of his 5-year-old daughter.

The child had written SMB on an envelope, the first time she had written anything else besides her name. The little girl also called Biles “the best.” Simone was visibly touched by this as she reposted the tweet with the caption, “this is the cutest omg my heart!!!” The little girl really touched Biles’ heartstrings. Biles, in the past, has also lent her support to the queer community. During one of her Asks on Instagram, one fan came out to her saying, “I still haven’t told my dad I’m gay even though everyone else in my family knows.” Biles replied to him with kindness, saying, “Tell him, be free, be yourself. I support you.”

She further added, “For anyone else struggling with telling family or friends, just know I will always welcome you with open arms on my page and platforms.” The man’s trust in Biles just speaks volumes of her exemplary character. Simone Biles also went to surprise an 11-year-old gymnast named Taylor. Taylor described Simone Biles as her inspiration, and just as she was doing a cartwheel, she was beyond overjoyed to see Biles right there holding a sign that read “Perfect 10”. The two embraced sweetly, and Taylor gushed about her role model. Biles fans have always been her biggest source of support and these interactions just prove their love for her. Her performances inspire fans and aspiring gymnasts globally, showcasing the transformative impact athletes like her have on the gymnastics world.

Just months after her exceptional silver medal performance behind gymnastics superstar Simone Biles at the 2023 U.S. Gymnastics Championships, 18-year-old Kaliya Lincoln’s Paris Olympic dreams hit a potential roadblock at the final major meet before June’s Olympic Trials.

Lincoln’s journey on the mat has been nothing short of remarkable. However, in a surprising turn of events, she has put a sudden pause to her ascending career by withdrawing from the Xfinity U.S. Gymnastics Championships after the first two rotations and petitioning for a Trials spot. This unexpected development raises questions about whether Lincoln, will be in peak form as she vies for one of the coveted spots for Paris.

Kaliya Lincoln has withdrawn from the second day of #XfinityChamps and has petitioned to compete at Olympic Trials read the X post by USA Gymnastics. Lincoln’s surprise exit robs her of valuable qualification points and casts a cloud over her Trials readiness just weeks out. The Xfinity meet had been her final chance to boost her national team claims before the Paris 2024 roster is finalized at Trials on June 27-30.

The teen starlet had been dubbed Biles’ likely successor after matching the GOAT’s senior career with a senior debut at the 2023 Winter Cup, continuing at the 2023 U.S. Classic and the 2023 National Championships. But Lincoln may now be forced to watch from home after her untimely Xfinity withdrawal. USA Gymnastics stayed tight-lipped on the specifics behind her withdrawal, offering no update on potential injuries or other issues.

Lincoln started her journey under the mentorship of her idol, US Gymnastics icon Gabby Douglas, when Lincoln was just 12. Her journey with Gabby Douglas began after she first saw the three-time Olympic champion during a TV show. They later met, and Douglas was the one who inspired Lincoln to dream about gymnastics.

After 2021, an unfortunate condition resulted in a two-year-long break from international competition for Kaliya Lincoln. Kaliya Lincoln’s recent performance at the National Training Centre showcased her exceptional skills and further cemented her status as a top contender. Her dazzling 6.5-floor routine at the World Gymnastics Championships Selection Camp garnered widespread acclaim on social media.

Fans highlighted her as a key player for Team USA. Netizens even crowned her with the title “Second Simone Biles”. With her impressive record, including two gold medals at the 2023 Pan American Games, Lincoln’s withdrawal might be signaling not a retreat but a strategic pivot as she aims for Olympic glory.

Shortly after the Xfinity gymnastics competition concluded on June 2, Sunday evening, USA Gymnastics announced that they approved Kaliya Lincoln’s petition to take part in the upcoming U.S. Olympic trials scheduled for later this month. It is anticipated that Lincoln will join Simone Biles, Skye Blakely, as well as 13 other gymnasts at the trials, which will commence on June 27th in the city of Minneapolis.

Empty seats and silent audiences at any sporting event are a huge morale dwindler and prominent stars like Noah Lyles and Sydney McLaughlin Levrone have faced the brunt of it. Gymnastics suffers the same fate too from time to time. Will Olympic dreams collide with unexpected silence at the Xfinity U.S. Gymnastics Championships? The anticipation was palpable as the event promised a spectacle of athleticism and Olympic dreams. With Simone Biles headlining the event, fans are eagerly waiting to witness the unparalleled grace on the mat. But contrasting with all the enthusiasm, an eerie silence pervaded the arena.

As to everyone’s disbelief, the empty stands dimmed the spectacle. Despite the queen of gymnastics reigning on the gymnastics floor, the roar from the stands was not loud enough to enlighten the electrifying performances. But why did Biles have to take center stage amidst an atmosphere of eerie quietude?

Simone Biles, a name synonymous with triumphs and roaring cheers in the gymnastics realm, took center stage in the U.S. Championship last Friday in Fort Worth, Texas. With gravity-defying stunts, Biles has already taken the lead. However, the absence of cheering fans left a void in the atmosphere. Recently an X post shared a snapshot of the empty stands of Fort Worth and added, The arena is… empty.

The tickets for the Xfinity U.S. Gymnastics Championships were available online for fans. The price for the tickets began from $239 for all eight sessions. The highest price reached approximately $10,000. This amount might be the reason behind the empty stands. Also, the tornado in Texas affected the area and left many people without power. This, in turn, might have affected the situation.

Besides Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas was on the list of contenders, but unfortunately, because of a sudden injury, she had to withdraw from the U.S. Championships 2024. The list is also graced by names like Shilese Jones, Jordan Chiles, Suni Lee, Jade Carey, Leane Wong, Yul Moldauer, Paul Juda, and many other extraordinary athletes.

A stadium filled with enthusiastic supporters often becomes a catalyst for the athletes’ positive mindset before their performance. As the Xfinity U.S. Gymnastics Championships unfolded against the backdrop of a deserted arena, fans couldn’t help but feel a sense of disappointment. And longing for the days when stadiums were filled with enthusiastic supporters. This holds true for the dismal plight prevailing in track and field as well, especially if we consider allusions to this interrelated problem in the sporting realm.

Noah Lyles, back in 2021, even admitted that his failure and underwhelming performance in the 200m was due to the lack of a viable crowd rooting for their favorite athletes. Notwithstanding Covid regulations, he simply stated that-“I don’t think you understand how lifeless it was in Tokyo to have no crowd there. It was dead silent,” which just goes to show how much of a buzzkill the dearth of fans causes to an athlete’s game. With no clarion calls or chants as such, he came in clutch with his rationale that –“I’ve competed in a stadium where the audience was silent and it was extremely weird, I think I would rather have nobody there.”

The same disappointing case prevailed with Sydney Levrone as well in the Oxy Invitational in LA this year. In her maiden voyage this year (her first ever hurdle race since August 2022) saw an acute paucity of traffic and turnover. While Levrone still gave it her all to emerge with a 12.71 in the 100mH, it still underscores that this issue is skin deep. Getting back to gymnastics, fans were visibly disheartened by this perennial problem and even chimed in with their two cents.

Gymnastics enthusiasts and netizens took to the comment section of the X post and shared their two cents on the matter. Referring to how direly vacant the stands are, one X user mentioned that even the first rows are empty. They commented, Literally you could be sitting the first row.

One fan mentioned their awkwardness while they watched the event on television. They highlighted that due to sparse applause in the nearly empty arena. For real, the smattering of clapping after routines in that arena is so awkward on TV :/”, wrote the fan.

Expressing incredulity at the high ticket prices for an event in Fort Worth, Texas, one user shared an opinion. The user sarcastically commented, Who wants to pay $10,000 for tickets to an event in the exotic, beautiful paradise of….Fort Worth. Texas is not predominantly considered a luxurious location. The comment reflected the irony of such high costs for an event in a location that may not be perceived as glamorous.

One comment highlighted that the previous day of the event too experienced a similar scenario. The user expressed disappointment and wrote, Damn I thought it would be significantly better than the men yesterday but it’s not.

While the Paris Olympics are just a few weeks away, athletes are gearing up to showcase their athletic prowess at every event. Despite that, Fort Worth had to execute one of the most awaited gymnastics events amid haunting silence.

The hype was real for a Simone Biles vs. Gabby Douglas clash at the 2024 Core Hydration Classic. Simone’s return for her fourth Olympic gymnastics cycle was nothing short of spectacular. She nailed her performance at May’s U.S. Classic, scoring 59.500 in the all-around, her best since Tokyo. Meanwhile, Gabby faced some challenges withdrawing after the first rotation with 10.100 on uneven bars.

Despite facing these struggles, Gabby has still managed to secure her spot at the prestigious 2024 Xfinity U.S. Gymnastics Championships. This competition is the showdown before the Olympic Trials kick off on June 27–30. That’s when the selection for the five-man and five-woman teams that will compete in the Paris Olympics will take place.

The women’s all-around winner at trials secures an Olympic spot, while for the men, the all-around winner makes the team if he is also among the top three on three of the six apparatuses. Gabby Douglas may not be hitting the mats for the all-around event, but she’s still gearing up to compete in three out of four events and gunning for a spot in the Olympic Trials.

Meanwhile, Simone Biles will defend her historic win at the 2023 Xfinity U.S. Gymnastics Championships, clinching her eighth U.S. all-around title and becoming the oldest woman to achieve this feat. With fans eagerly awaiting the epic showdown between the biggest names in American gymnastics, let’s uncover the details on when, where, and how you can catch all the action!

When and where are the 2024 Xfinity Gymnastics Championships taking place?

Get ready to mark your calendars because the 2024 Xfinity U.S. Gymnastics Championships are happening from May 30th to June 2nd at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas. It’s going to be four days packed with jaw-dropping performances as gymnasts from across the nation compete for those prestigious national champion titles in both men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics. Here’s the rundown of the schedule:

Tuesday, May 30th: Podium Training for Junior Men at 1:00 p.m. ET, followed by Senior Men at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Thursday, June 1st: Day 1 for Junior Men at 2:15 p.m. ET and Senior Men at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Friday, June 2nd: Day 1 for Junior Women at 3:00 p.m. ET and Senior Women at 8:00 p.m. ET.

While awaiting the exciting showdown, let us discover how you can catch all the live action-packed weekend, even if you haven’t secured tickets.

To catch the electrifying clash between gymnastics icons like Simone Biles and Gabby Douglas at the 2024 Xfinity U.S. Gymnastics Championships, there are several options to ensure you don’t miss a moment of the action. For starters, if you’re in the US, you can tune in to the live broadcasts on NBC and Peacock, which will air the senior women’s competition on Friday, May 31st, from 7-9 and on Sunday, June 2nd, from 6-8, both in U.S. Central Daylight Time.

Additionally, USA Gymnastics will be providing live coverage of senior women’s podium training sessions via FlipNow.TV on Wednesday, May 29th, at 5 pm Central Time. Those outside the U.S. can catch the excitement on the USA Gymnastics YouTube channel, where the event will be streamed live. With the countdown ticking away and anticipation reaching a fever pitch, all eyes are eagerly fixed on the imminent crowning of the next national champions.

Simone Biles has proved to the world why she is a true champion. Coming back from her break, Biles has been at the peak of form. However, just a couple of years back, things did not look rosy for Biles. Trying to win herself another Olympic gold accolade, Simone Biles received the shock of her life. While in mid-air during one of her routines, Biles lost the perception of where the land was. She later announced her condition as ‘twisties’ that created ripples in the gymnastics realm.

Subsequently, Biles had to pull out of the competition, sacrificing her dreams for Tokyo. A long period of grinding rehab process followed. Under the strict guidance of Beth Riemersma, Biles slowly but surely got her footing back. And now, gaining an able ally in Brody Malone, Biles has her decision of withdrawal justified.

Brody Malone is currently the hot topic in US gymnastics. After coming back from his injury, Malone has been unstoppable. His recent 85.95 on the first night of the US gymnastics championships has made his fans go crazy. However, taking a step aside from his on-field action, Malone recently spoke about another legendary US gymnast-Simone Biles.

Speaking on the EP338 DON’T CALL IT A COMEBACK | BRODY MALONE | FORMER WORLD CHAMPION AND TEAM USA OLYMPIC GYMNAST podcast, Malone stated that he supported Biles’ decision to pull out midway. While this decision was largely criticized, Malone thought otherwise.

He stated, Yeah. She was getting lost in the air. And then when she did the same thing in the competition, I was like, okay, that kind of solidifies it. She definitely is, is a little bit lost. She’s got the twisties. So taking herself out at that moment I think was probably the right thing to do for her team.” 

Malone justified his statement by pointing out that continuing with such complications would result in serious injuries. He also opined that not being 100% fit is something that would harm her team negatively as well. While she has received significant support, Biles has already chalked her redemption plan, it seems.

Biles’ stupendous comeback

Simone Biles made her comeback to competitive gymnastics last year at the World Championships in Belgium. Displaying spectacular routines, Biles clinched four gold medals to establish her reign of dominance over the others. Opening her season this year, Simone Biles won the Core Hydration Classics as well to give out a powerful statement ahead of the upcoming Olympics.

Biles, looking to grab all the limelight in Paris, is training hard for her dreams. Meanwhile, her main aim will be to wipe the nightmarish memories of Tokyo off her ledger. Speaking with Olympics.com in 2023, Biles opened up about her approach going forward. She said, “I think I have to take care of myself a little bit more and listen to my body and making sure that I’m making time for the important things in my life rather than before.” Thus, with things looking bright, it remains to be seen how Simone Biles delivers on her D-day.