McKayla Maroney Hails Simone Biles as the G.O.A.T., Says 2020 Tokyo Olympics Didn’t Damage Legacy

by Josh Lanier

Olympics gold medalist McKayla Maroney said Simone Biles is still the G.O.A.T. Her withdrawal from several events at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics doesn’t change that.

And Maroney should know as a former teammate and competitor of Simone Biles.

“Honestly, I do [consider Simone the greatest ever],” the 2012 gold medalist told TMZ. “When I competed with her back in 2013, I just felt like her gymnastics were so much better than mine.

“… I mean, we competed with each other in the vault,  and I was kind of head-to-head with her on that, but she blows everyone out of the water on every single event.”

It’s unclear if Biles’ Olympics career is over. But at the 2024 games in Paris, she’ll be 27, which is on the upper end of the elite gymnast age spectrum. Maroney said she’s not suiting up again to compete, but she thinks Biles could do it.

“I’m 25, and I can’t see myself getting back in the gym. I did it for the little Geico commercial, but it is really tough,” McKayla told the outlet. “… If Simone wants to do it, she can do anything. She’s the G.O.A.T. She can do anything.”

Maroney Understands Why Simone Biles Withdrew

Simone Biles caused a major stir over expectations for Olympic athletics when she withdrew from several events at the Tokyo Olympics. Biles said she was suffering from the “twisties” and competing would be too dangerous. The twisties is a bizarre mental block that keeps gymnasts from orienting their bodies with the ground while performing aerial maneuvers. Biles released a training video showing how dangerous they can be as she landed on her back and head during dismounts.

Though, she was able to overcome those mental blocks and earn a bronze medal in the vault on the final day of gymnastics competitions.

McKayla Maroney said mental blocks are dangerous and can be career killers.

“I’ve had a lot of experience with these mental blocks,” Maroney said in a social media video, according to TMZ. “They are miserable. They are a gymnast’s worst nightmare and they can end your career.”

Maroney suffered from “body yips” when she injured herself badly falling off of a balance beam, she said. She suffered a concussion in the fall, but it also left her unable to perform, as if her body wouldn’t allow her.

“Like, you can’t even understand them,” Maroney said. “Like, ‘Why is this happening to me? I don’t know why my body is doing something different.'”

Maroney added that an athlete’s health is more important than any medal.

“She was smart to protect her body and her mind,” Maroney said. “Because it’s more important. It just is.”

Simone Biles had a similar statement for her detractors.

“Mentally I still have a lot of things that I have to work on but to bring the topic of conversation on mental health to light means the world to me,” Biles told the TODAY show after winning the bronze. “People have to realize that at the end of the day we’re humans, we’re not just entertainment. There are things going on behind the scenes that people have no idea about.”