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Simone Biles Talks “Trauma Response” & Epic Olympic Comeback in New Documentary

The seven-time Olympic medalist lets audiences get a behind-the-scenes look at why she withdrew from the Tokyo Games 2020 to focus on her mental health. 

By Jax Miller
Simone Biles smiles on day four of the 2023 U.S. Gymnastics Championships

The first official trailer for Simone Biles’ upcoming documentary has dropped just weeks before the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, detailing the legendary Olympian’s decision to withdraw from the Tokyo Games 2020.

Simone Biles Rising, premiering on Monday, July 17, 2024, captures the story of the four-time gold medal gymnast as she “balances her personal life, mental health journey, and training ahead of a highly anticipated return to the Olympics,” per the description. The original two-part sports documentary will premiere just days before the Summer Games, which take place between Friday, July 26, and Sunday, August 11, 2024, broadcasting live on NBC and Peacock.

“I’ve always had really good intuition about things,” the 27-year-old athlete says in the trailer. “And unfortunately, I felt that way about the Olympics.”

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Jonathan Owens and Simone Biles at the Houston rockets game together

What does Simone Biles discuss in the documentary?

The special spotlights Biles’ decision to pull out of the Tokyo Games, citing a need to “focus on her mental health,” per a statement by USA Gymnastics. At the time, following a sweeping victory at the Rio Games 2016, the sport’s governing body said, “We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many.”

As indicated in the recent trailer, which was released Wednesday, June 19, 2024, Biles’ decision — which helped her become the youngest living recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2022 for being a “prominent advocate for athletes’ mental health and safety, children in foster care, and victims of sexual assault” — Biles’ decision to withdraw was also met with resistance.

An onscreen pop-up shows a comment by someone calling her “quitter of the year.”

“People love to watch the come-up,” Biles says in the trailer. “As soon as you win, ‘God, I hate her.’”

Simone Biles Rising features a behind-the-scenes look at the iconic athlete’s struggles behind closed doors, with one clip showing Biles crying as she gets candid about “mental blocks in the gym.”

“But everything that happened, it’s a trauma response,” Biles says.

Simone Biles during her beam routine during the 2024 Xfinity U.S. Gymnastics Championships

Simone Biles lets audiences into her Olympic comeback

The recent recipient of the Laureus World Sports Award for Comeback of the Year, Biles lets cameras take an honest look at her life as a mortal and the emotional struggles she’d faced along her epic journey.

“I wanted to quit like 500,000 times, and I would have if it weren’t for my people,” Biles continues in the trailer. “I knew it would be a long journey, but to me, it wasn’t done.”

Biles’ husband, NFL player Jonathan Owens, and mother, Nellie Biles, also participate in the new doc. Glimpses of the Olympian’s home life — featuring her spectacular wedding and what appears to be Biles and Owens creating a new home for themselves — give viewers a front-row seat to one of the greatest athletes ever.

Many may expect Biles to rake in more gold for Team USA, but guests in the documentary, including two-time fellow Olympian gymnast Aly Raisman, laud Biles for getting back into the gym and even attempting the 2024 Summer Games.

“I never thought I’d be at this phase still doing it, and I feel very grateful,” Biles says. “I get to write my own ending.”

How to watch Simon Biles in the 2024 Games

As her Road to Paris continues, Biles is well on her way to earning a spot on the Olympic Team. Though she did not compete at the 2024 Winter Cup (as was optional), she won the all-around at the 2024 Core Hydration Classic for her Olympic season debut and upheld her record for winning her ninth all-around national title at the 2024 Xfinity U.S. Championships.

“I couldn’t be more proud of how I’m doing this time in the year and just gaining that confidence over and over, getting myself back in front of a crowd and just doing what I do in practice,” she told NBC Sports following the recent victory.

She is slated to perform at the 2024 U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team Trials, which will take place from June 27 to June 30.

Don't Miss

Watch live coverage of the Opening Ceremony on Friday, July 26, on NBC and Peacock beginning at 12 p.m. ET. Telemundo will provide Spanish-language coverage beginning at 1 p.m. ET. Primetime coverage starts at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT on NBC and Peacock.

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