Shawn Johnson excited for Simone Biles' return at Paris Olympics following 2021 twisties: 'The best forever'

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Simone Biles was on her way to adding to her already insane resume in 2021 – when, all of a sudden, she couldn’t.

Out of nowhere, at the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo, Biles experienced the “twisties” – better known as the yips for gymnastics.

So, after winning four gold medals in Rio in 2016, Biles competed in just one individual event five years later, earning the bronze in the balance beam.


Simone Biles poses for a photo

Gold medalist Simone Biles poses during the medal ceremony at the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships at Antwerp Sportpaleis on Oct. 6, 2023, in Belgium. (Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Biles received much criticism, with many in the media saying she had quit on her team – her reasoning was her physical safety, as well as the possibility for poor team performance.

But former Olympian and 2008 gold medalist Shawn Johnson is one of her supporters.

“Literally happens to anybody. I think it’s just a reminder that every athlete competing there is human, and they’re going through a lot,” Johnson said in a recent interview with Fox News Digital. “You only see the fluff pieces on TV of how robotic and machine-like they are, when in actuality, they’re just kids. They’re just people. 

“Simone’s particular case, I wish her nothing but the best, and I would just say, human flaws happen. A human flaw, human mistake, doesn’t mean that’s who you are. It’s just, we’re all gonna have them.”

She didn’t compete in 2022, but utterly dominated in 2023, winning four gold medals at the World Championships.

Simone Biles on the floor

Simone Biles performs in the floor exercise at the U.S. Classic gymnastics competition, Aug. 5, 2023, in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)


That brought her World Championship gold medal count to 23 – thus, Johnson gave Biles the crown of the GOAT.

“Simone is Simone. Simone is the greatest we will ever see in the history of our sport. I don’t care what happens, I don’t care if she just shows up and says hello and doesn’t compete – that doesn’t change history for her. I would be so excited to see her compete, but she has literally nothing to prove. She’s the best forever. 

“I’m excited to see her compete, obviously, but she doesn’t have to do anything. Right now, she’s just racking in the medals.”

Simone Biles on the podium

Simone Biles reacts after winning in the floor exercise at the U.S. Classic competition, Aug. 5, 2023. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)


Biles will more than likely be in Paris this summer in hopes of adding to what Johnson says is the resume of the best ever. And Johnson says she will be a “giant cheerleader.”

“I feel like it’s such a small world that I know the girls through a couple degrees of separation – I’m an old has-been,” Johnson joked. “I’m not in it anymore, but I will be there cheering for them and will be the one saying, ‘No matter what you do, you’ve done an incredible job.’ They’re superhuman, and I’m just cheering them on.”

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