Simone Biles’ return to Paris 2024 generates enormous hype, just like the forthcoming Netflix series

Simone Biles
Simone Biles (PC: X)

Sunday is Olympic Day, a day to be celebrated by one and all who have romanced the Olympic rings. If there is one singular athlete whose return to Paris 2024 Olympics is awaited with bated breath, it has to be American legend Simone Biles. Sample this, for an elite athlete who will be again twisting, turning and showing off her jaw-gaping athleticism mixed with swagger at the artistics gymnastics arena in Paris, a four-part Netflix documentary series featuring her will premiere in mid- July.

“She’s the greatest in the world. She’s also human,” read the caption on June 19 Instagram promoting the series. “SIMONE BILES RISING, a Netflix sports series documenting one of the most powerful comebacks in history, premieres July 17.”

It just goes to show how important Simone is, having cried out of the Tokyo Olympics, literally, after breaking down. To say that Simone, who owns seven Olympic medals, out of which four are gold, will be back with a bang is stating the obvious. Mind you, this hype over Simone is not a PR stunt, for what she had suffered at the hands of dirty coach Larry Nassar, now in jail, is well known. Nassar had destroyed many gymnasts’ careers and it required great courage from Biles to admit she was also a victim.

It was this trauma, this pain, which saw her become a wreck in Tokyo. Images of her in turmoil made for emotional viewing, for, just before that in Rio 2016 at the Olympics, Biles had showcased how her body could do unimaginable things inside the gymnastics arena to wow the crowd. So how does Simone feel about the Netflix series and her full return to Paris 2024, where she is expected to sweep medals. “I wanted to quit like 500,000 times and I would have, if it weren’t for my people,” she has stated on YouTube.

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Simone Biles in Tokyo Olympics
Simone Biles in Tokyo Olympics (PC: X)

In the build-up to the Paris Olympics, Simone has not taken anything easy. In early June, at the US Championships in Fort Worth, Texas, Simone received an emotional reaction from her mother and husband Jonathan Owens, a well-known NFL star. The story of Simone and Owens is in itself relevant, as he did not even know who he was dating back in 2020. That they got married and life has become better for Simone needs to be celebrated today.

It has taken her emotional courage and resilience to build up her momentum in the run-up to Paris. The key will be to see how Biles performs at the US Olympic trials to be held from June 27 to 30 in Minneapolis at the Target Center. The world is waiting with bated breath, for the gymnast will be literally on fire on the vault. Perhaps, the best thing about the US trials is, there is no favouritism. If someone can challenge Simone, she will be more than happy. After all, nothing is taken for granted.

Back to what Simone had undergone in Tokyo, gymnasts do battle “twisties,” a term associated with mental block which affects performance.  “It’s honestly petrifying trying to do a skill but not having your mind & body in sync,” Biles noted during an Instagram chat three years ago. “Literally cannot tell up from down. It’s the craziest feeling ever. Not having an inch of control over your body,” she had said.

There was support as well as criticism for Simone in Tokyo, so typical of how caustic social media can be. On Olympic Day, when there is so much to celebrate, Biles’s return also needs to be. Paris, for sure, is dying to see her, as is apparent from their official social media handles. Star power? Yes.

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