2020 Tokyo Olympics: Why Simone Biles, US Gymnastics Team Were Absent From the Opening Ceremony

by Joe Rutland

If you were watching the Opening Ceremony for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and couldn’t find Simone Biles and the US Gymnastics Team, here’s why.

Biles, according to a story from Fox News, initially mentioned the coronavirus as one reason. Earlier this week, alternate Kara Eaker tested positive for COVID-19. The US Gymnastics Team moved out of the Olympic Village and to a hotel as a precautionary measure.

She followed that up with a fuller answer.

“The amount of standing is crazy,” Biles responded in a Q&A Instagram post. “USA is usually at the end as well because alphabetical. We start the following day. So it wouldn’t be smart.”

Biles Said 2020 Tokyo Olympics Ceremony Isn’t First One Team Has Missed

Biles also added that “we’ve actually never attended an opening I believe.” USA Gymnastics spokesperson Meredith Yeoman told The New York Times that the team was “focused on preparation.”

As for moving the US Gymnastics Team into a hotel at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, coach Cecile Landi said on Sunday “it was also a decision that we all made together.”

“We know it isn’t ideal for the Olympic experience but nothing is ideal during a pandemic,” Landi said. “We feel like we can control the athletes and our safety better in a hotel setting!”

Other members of the US Olympic Team did take part in the Opening Ceremony with its pomp and pageantry. It always stirs the heart, especially of an Outsider, to see the American flag among other countries.

Eddy Alvarez Talked About Being US Flag Bearer at Opening Ceremony

Carrying “Old Glory” into the Olympic Stadium at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics definitely was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Eddy Alvarez.

Alvarez held back from crying as he talked with the “Today” show about representing the United States at the Opening Ceremony. He joined women’s basketball player Sue Bird as a flag bearer.

“Just to get the honor to represent the United States of America, to hold the flag — the symbol of liberty, of freedom — my family came over to this country from Cuba in search of opportunity,” Alvarez said. “And if it wasn’t for them doing that, I wouldn’t be in the position that I am now.”

Alvarez is a 31-year-old minor-league baseball shortstop. He’s also the son of Cuban immigrants to America.

Now Alvarez grew up both as a speed skater and baseball player. In fact, Alvarez won the silver medal in the 5,000-meter short-track speed skating relay in the 2014 Winter Olympics.

So he’s going to be looking to add another Olympic medal to his awards this year in Tokyo. You can catch Alvarez at his shortstop position when the US baseball team takes the field as they seek Olympic gold.