"I am looking forward to the Olympic Village with all the athletes and being immersed in the Japanese culture," the history-making gymnast tells PEOPLE

By Lindsay Kimble and Tina Johnson
March 05, 2020 11:00 AM
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Credit: Ulrik Pedersen/CSM/Shutterstock

Simone Biles certainly won’t be taking it easy at the Olympics this summer — but she’s also not going to overdo it.

Opening up to PEOPLE as one of the 2020 Women Changing the World, Biles addressed speculation she’ll perform a challenging new vault stunt at the Tokyo Games.

“That would be no, unfortunately,” she says. “[The] risk vs. reward factor.”

She explains further, “In gymnastics, almost everything has been done so when you push boundaries there is a risk factor — risk vs reward. Gymnastics can be a dangerous sport so you have to be smart. I’m glad I have great coaches that guide me, help me be creative and push those boundaries.”

Last month, the 22-year-old athlete tweeted out a video of herself performing a Yurchenko double pike — a move which has never been performed by a female gymnast in a competition, according to The Washington Post.

Named after Natalia Yurchenko, a Russian gymnast who performed the stunt in the 1980s, the stunt usually stops at a single flip. In Biles’ case, however, she tacked on an extra flip, adding another layer of difficulty to the stunt.

Credit: Matthias Schrader/AP/Shutterstock

Biles captioned the video “2020?” along with several eye emojis.

When it comes to pushing boundaries in competitions, Biles has already successfully completed numerous never-before-done stunts.

The decorated gymnast now has four moves named for her: two floor moves — the “Biles” (double layout half out) and the “Biles II” (double backflip with three twists) — the “Biles” vault (Yurchenko half on with two twists) and the “Biles” beam (double-double dismount), according to CBS Sports.

Yurchenko vault or no vault, Biles is “looking forward to the Olympic Village with all the athletes and being immersed in the Japanese culture.”

And no, nailing the moves in her performance during the competition is not what gives her nerves.

“My biggest challenge to date is dealing with anxiety,” admits Biles to PEOPLE. “It’s not easy to tackle anxiety, especially in the public eye. I’m not ashamed, I do go to therapy and it helps me.”

Post-Olympics goals for Biles? Well, “It’s hard to think about right now,” she admits.

“I’m just trying to live in the moment and focus on my goals of what’s right in front of me with the Olympics,” Biles tells PEOPLE. “I’m almost 23 so I do wonder about life without competitive gymnastics but I can’t think too much about life after gymnastics, it stresses me out. But I know that I’ll figure it out.”

For more on Biles, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.