WASHINGTON — U.S. gymnastics star Simone Biles and her teammates arrived in Tokyo Thursday ahead of the Olympic Games.
Biles spoke to the Associated Press on Wednesday before taking off for Japan and said she's excited to be representing the U.S. again at the Olympics, but knows it's going to be a completely different environment than the 2016 Rio Games. Japan's government has banned fans, including athletes' family members, from attending any competitions to try to contain surging COVID-19 cases.
"Yeah, it's going to be really tough, I think, only because I've never competed without a crowd. I've never competed without my family there. So to be very different. But I know they'll be there in spirit and we'll be chatting before and after the meet. So hopefully fingers crossed it goes well," Biles explained.
The 24-year-old is looking to become the first female gymnast to become a repeat Olympic champion in more than 50 years.
Biles is featured on the cover of the latest issue of Sports Illustrated and discussed when it might be the right time to call it quits. She explained that she wants to go out on her own terms.
“Always have to give something you love up on your own time and I think that’s why I would stop because I wouldn’t want it taken from me and have a doctor say you can’t do this or it’ll be really hurtful to you, so I’d rather just hang it up myself and you just have to learn when it’s your time, whenever that is,” she explained.
After winning four gold and one bronze medals at the 2016 Games, Biles is ready to headline an American team heavily favored to win a third straight Olympic title.