Simone Biles wants to turn her post-Olympic tour into a celebration — and the guys are coming, too



May 9, 2024 - 12:46 PM

USA's Simone Biles is seen here between sessions in the women's team qualifying at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on July 24, 2021. Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Simone Biles is bringing back her Gold Over America Tour this fall, with a twist.

This time, the guys are invited too.

The decision to include the men on the 30-city tour that starts in Southern California on Sept. 17 and ends in Detroit on Nov. 3 was intentional. Biles, who will try to build on her haul of seven Olympic medals this summer in Paris, wanted to broaden the show.

“I think the first time we were very driven on female-forward cast and having the beauty in that and knowing that we can put on a show without the guys and just having the girls being in their feminine power and being beautiful and being the stars,” Biles said ahead of the tour’s announcement on Thursday. “But this time around we’re like ‘OK, that worked but let’s do it a little bit differently, let’s invite the men.’”

That includes Fred Richard, 20, who became the first American man to medal in the all-around at the world championships since 2010 when he earned bronze in Belgium last fall.

Richard, who is eyeing making his first Olympic team, has made it his mission to help make men’s gymnastics relevant in a country where the women have commanded much of the attention — and much of the international success — for decades.

The sophomore at Michigan has cultivated an avid following on social media thanks to an ability to make men’s gymnastics look both fun and relatable, a somewhat difficult needle to thread.

“The goal is to get as many eyes on men’s gymnastics side as possible and have more people understand who we are and what we do,” Richard said. “The dream is that someone walks down the street one day and someone says ‘Name a male gymnast’ and they actually name a male gymnast.”

Working with the most decorated gymnast in the history of the sport for a couple of months might help. Richard called Biles a “role model.” She sees in Richard someone who has a unique ability to connect with an audience.

“I think it gets really intimate when you get on Fred’s platform, just because how he talks to you, the kind of stuff that he puts out is really interesting,” Biles said. “I think it’ll bring a whole different take.”

The rest of the men’s group won’t be determined until after the run-up to the Paris Olympics.

“(The men) also bring a little bit, in the best way, sex appeal,” Biles said. “I think that’s very interesting and it brings a different type of crowd too. It’s like they can do really cool tricks with little to no effort without training and so I think it’ll be a beautiful show.”

The women joining Biles include 2020 Tokyo Olympic teammate Jordan Chiles and 2020 Olympic floor exercise champion Jade Carey, with the rest of the roster to be revealed in the coming weeks.

Biles described the show as a “celebration” of gymnastics, though a celebration with decidedly personal elements.

She used the 2021 tour to help promote the importance of prioritizing mental health, a sometimes taboo subject Biles brought out into the open when she removed herself from multiple competitions at the Tokyo Games while battling “the twisties.”

“Obviously we want to bring the fun, we want to bring like the exhilarating feeling, we want to bring the golden side out of everybody but those touchy subjects or whatever we want to touch on, those will come whenever people get a chance to tell their stories at the Olympics,” she said.

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