GYMNASTICS

Simone Biles Says She ‘Never Thought I Would Compete Again,’ Calls Return to Gymnastics ‘Blessing’ (Exclusive)

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Simone Biles is keeping her holiday season “festive and fun” as she eyes an exciting year ahead.

In an interview with PEOPLE in conjunction with Athleta’s Holiday 2023 Collection campaign, the seven-time Olympic medalist says she’s thankful for all of her accomplishments in 2023 — including winning the gold medal in the women’s all-around final at the World Championships in October — on the heels of a two-year break from the international side of the sport.

“It honestly feels amazing to return to competition, I never thought I would compete again so this is a blessing,” Biles, 26, tells PEOPLE. “My favorite moment has been competing alongside my WCC teammates.”

And whether she is cheering on her fellow gymnasts or getting yet another skill named after her — the fearsome Yurchenko double pike was renamed the “Biles II” after the G.O.A.T. successfully landed it at worlds — the most-decorated athlete in the history of gymnastics is also passionate about what she wears inside and outside of the gym.

That’s where her two-year-plus partnership with the athletic-wear company comes into play, she says.

She adds, “The holidays can be hectic but this is a reminder to slow down, be present and really take in this special time of year.”

Simone Biles

 

 

 

 

For Biles’ part, that means spending plenty of time with family — including her husband Green Bay Packers safety Jonathan Owens — and her beloved dogs.

 

“Our lives can get so busy, so I plan on prioritizing self compassion and daily well-being by getting great sleep, resting when I need to, and surrounding myself with people that lift me up — family, friends, and of course, my dogs!” she says.

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On Instagram, Biles has proven she is a fan of dressing for the occasion — whether it’s a frigid game at Lambeau Field or a night out with the girls.

All of which means she has a few tips to keep in mind when dressing for the season.

“Keep it festive and fun but keep it comfortable!” she says. “You want to enjoy the moment and not be distracted by your outfit. I love to take a piece I know and feel confident in and change it up with new accessories to give it new life.”

As for the new collection, which spans cozy leggings to shiny athletic bras to a form-fitting bodysuit, Biles is on board.

“I love dressing cozy when I’m at home, especially during the holidays,” she says. “Athleta actually has a Cozy Collection as part of their larger Holiday Collection, which features ultra-luxe and soft styles. I am definitely a hoodie person and have been wearing their Cozy Karma Hoodie Sweatshirt around the house when I’m going for a more laid-back look.”

Last Sunday, however, Biles swapped her hometown Houston’s humidity for Wisconsin’s wind (and snow) at the Packers-Kansas City Chiefs game, but she stayed warm in the brand’s Downtown Puffer Parka in “Simone Green,” with custom patchwork.

But there’s one item on Biles’ Christmas list that she wants more of — and it can’t be found in any store.

“This year on my holiday wishlist is to just spend quality time with my husband in Green Bay,” she says.

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