The Tokyo Olympics may be over, but Simone Biles has one final act up her sleeve before 2021 is out. The most decorated gymnast in World Championship history is taking her show on the road to headline the Athleta Presents Gold Over America Tour (GOAT) alongside her U.S. women’s gymnastics teammates. “It’ll be kind of like a pop star show. It will be very unique,” Biles tells EBONY of the production, which kicks off this fall in Tuscon, Arizona.
In April, the über-talented athlete announced her partnership with the Gap-backed women’s performance apparel brand and praised them for their commitment to supporting and celebrating the strength of women. The Gold Over America Tour, which also features gymnasts who have competed in the Olympics on behalf of other nations, is the physical manifestation of this commitment. “Just being able to go out there and have fun without it being a competition,” is one aspect of the tour that U.S. gymnast Jordan Chiles is very much looking forward to, in addition to “interacting with the younger girls that are out there watching us.” The team is striving to make the tour a memorable experience for attendees, who will have the opportunity to interact with performers during the closing act. “One of our last numbers will include high-energy dancing, and will just be a fun floor party. They get to interact with us, which will be really fun,” adds Biles.
GOAT is expected to be an action-packed and “high-energy” event, but it will also touch on more serious topics that may evoke an emotional response, such as body positivity and mental health awareness. “It will be emotional,” concurs Biles. “There will be highs, lows, and everything in between. We want the gymnasts to know that they are not alone and even us, the gold medalists, go through these things. So we’re trying to be as transparent and as relatable as possible.”
At 24 years old, the decorated gymnast has demonstrated the courage to advocate for her own mental wellbeing in a way that people twice her age have struggled to do. During the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, she withdrew from multiple competitions in order to guard her mental and emotional health.
“Personally, for me, I’ve found that treating my mind and going to therapy has helped me,” explains Biles on how she maintains mental soundness as a public figure who is often subject to high-stress situations. “But while we were in Tokyo, kind of putting some of those social media platforms on the backburner helped me decompress a little bit so I wasn’t so focused in on it.”
“There’s only so much we can do when it comes to our mental health,” adds Chiles, who says that she also unplugs from social media, dabbles in art, and indulges in retail therapy to decompress stay mentally grounded. “You can really [see] the emotion come through when I draw and paint.”
As the team winds down from the Olympics before they gear up for GOAT, the young women can all agree they are taking advantage of spending time with loved ones—something they don’t always have the privilege of doing.
“Spending time with my husband and family, that’s been a nice way to come down a little bit and really enjoy what we’ve worked for,” shares gymnast Mykayla Skinner. “This is the time where we finally get to have a life and live in the moment. Being with friends and family has been exactly what I needed.”
For Biles, the reward has been going from center stage to cheering from the stands at her boyfriend, Jonathan Owens’ NFL practices. “I get to go to a lot of my boyfriend’s practices, which I’ve never been to, for their open camp,” she shares. “It’s been really exciting just to be home and a little bit normal.”
The 35-city Gold Over America Tour kicks off September 21. Click here to learn more.