Simone Biles and Team USA gymnasts skip Olympics opening ceremony but throw own hotel parade

Athletes participating in early competition often skip the formal and draining opening of Games

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Friday 23 July 2021 20:35
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Inside the Tokyo 2020 Olympics opening ceremony

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Simone Biles and her fellow US gymnasts did not attend the Olympics opening ceremony, instead throwing their own parade at the team’s hotel.

Both the men’s and women’s teams dressed in their Team USA uniforms, and three-time Olympian Sam Mikulak carried the flag, with Billes behind him.

All the gymnasts waved to an imaginary crowd as staff members cheered them on.

The moment was captured on video and posted on social media by Lisa Spini, the coach of team member MyKayla Skinner.

“Oh my gosh, is that Shane Wiskus?” someone can be heard joking, in reference to the member of the men’s team.

It is common for those athletes participating in early competitions to skip the long and draining opening ceremony in order to conserve their energy.

The Parade of Nations, which saw all 200 countries taking part walk through the Olympic Stadium, took two hours alone.

The team is staying at a Tokyo hotel rather than in the Olympic Village.

The men’s team begins competition on Saturday with their qualification round, and the women get going on Sunday.

The US women’s team is expected to win a string of gold medals, and Biles alone could take home another five to add to her already glittering collection.

Biles is the defending Olympic all-around champion and is hotly tipped to retain the title.

She won four Olympic gold medals at Rio in 2016 in the team event, the individual all-around, the vault, and the floor exercise, as well as a bronze medal in the balance beam.

In doing so the 24-year-old set an American record for the most gold medals in women’s gymnastics at a single games.

Only two female gymnasts have ever won gold at 24 or older since 1972, and neither was in the sport’s top prize, the individual all-around, which she is concentrating on.

The oldest woman to win the sport’s top prize in the last 50 years was 20-year-old Simona Amanar of Romania in 2000.

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