Proud Simone Biles leaves door open for Paris 2024

United States gymnast Simone Biles is open to contesting the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

The superstar endured a difficult time at the Tokyo Games, withdrawing from the team final last week citing mental health concerns.

The four-time Olympic champion didn’t contest the all-around, floor and uneven bars events but returned to win individual bronze on the balance beam.

That medal saw her match Shannon Miller as the most decorated Olympic gymnast in US history - and there may be more to come.

Biles told NBC’s Today show on Thursday (NZT) that she was keeping “the door open” for a return to the Olympics.

For the time being she was content to take a bit of a pause and reflect on her achievements.

“I think I have to relish and take this Olympics in, and kind of recognise what I’ve done with my career, because after 2016, I didn’t get to do that,” Biles told NBC.

Biles felt her bronze on the beam at Tokyo was more valuable to her than the same medal she achieved on that apparatus five years ago at the Rio Games.

“It definitely feels better than Rio’s bronze medal on beam, but it also shows that I did it for myself, I can go out there and hit another set,” she said.

“I was just excited to compete in the Olympics again, because at the beginning I just thought it was over.”

She admitted she had succumbed to the giant expectations placed on her.

She likened that to having “the weight of the world on your shoulders” and the burden can be a “little bit too heavy to carry”.

“One morning I woke up and I was like, ‘I’m more than my medals and gymnastics, I’m a human being,’” Biles told NBC.

“And I’ve done some courageous things outside of this sport as well, and I’m not a quitter, and it took all of that realising to see that, because ... if this situation didn’t happen, I don’t think I would have ever seen it that way. I would have never been able to walk away, and think I’m more than just gymnastics and medals.”

The test for Biles if she does contest the Paris Olympics will be to defy her age.

She will be 27 when they are staged. Russian Maria Gorokhovskaya was 30 when she won the women’s all-around title at the age of 30 at the 1952 Olympics but since then it has been dominated by teenagers.