The professional sports world was stunned on July 27th by the announcement from star American gymnast Simone Biles that she would be withdrawing from the 2020 Olympics, citing mental health concerns. After performing a qualifying round for the vaulting competition, Biles made a hard landing, affected by what gymnasts term “the twisties”, when one’s sense of balance and positioning is lost during vaults or dismounts. Biles went on to withdraw from all team and individual competitions, later stating that the unexpected loss of her aunt two days before the Tokyo games opened, and memories of sexual abuse from her coach, had combined to dangerously distract her focus.
After a week’s hiatus, Biles returned to competition for the final round on the balance beam, earning a Bronze Medal on August 3rd. The award makes her the most decorated gymnast of all time, with a combined total of 33 Olympic and World Championship medals.
Born 14 March 1997 at 12:30 AM EST in Columbus, Ohio (Rodden Rating C), Biles’ path to Olympic superstar status is prefigured in her natal chart. Asteroid Olympia at 0 Pisces is conjoined asteroid Simona, closest to Simone, strongly identifying her personally with the Olympic games. The Sun at 23 Pisces opposed Mars at 27 Virgo grants athletic prowess generally, and a T-Square with asteroid Golden at 28 Gemini shows her quest for excellence in competition.
Olympic excellence specifically is seen in asteroid Gold at 28 Taurus, conjoined asteroid Olympiada at 27 Taurus (named explicitly for the Games, which are termed “Olympiads”). Gold and Olympiada also conjoin the Moon at 2 Gemini and the Descendant at 4 Gemini, granting them increased power and angular force in her chart, as well as identifying her as a female (Moon) Olympian (Olympiada) winning top honors (Gold). A square to asteroid America at 27 Leo signals the country she would represent, and its opposition to asteroid Rio de Janeiro at 26 Aquarius creates a T-Square representing the venue where Biles first came to international attention, the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Biles won four gold medals in that competition, setting a record for American gymnasts in a single Games, and helped vault her team to global prominence.
So what went wrong?
Basically, Neptune. The planet which encourages lack of confidence, confusion, withdrawal from the public eye and distorted perceptions has been playing footsie with several points in Biles’ chart for well over a year, and came to station retrograde exactly on her Sun on June 25th, during the US Olympic Gymnastics Team Trials. Neptune rules some mental health issues on a planetary level (sharing that ground with Uranus), but on an asteroid level that’s the province of Ophelia, named for the character in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” who goes insane and drowns herself.
Biles’ natal Ophelia at 19 Pisces conjoins her Sun, as does asteroid Achilles, at 26 Pisces, all opposing Mars, making mental health issues (Ophelia) her literal “Achilles’ heel” in competition (Mars), a point of vulnerability or weakness (Achilles). Neptune crisscrossing Ophelia three times in 2020 and 2021, followed by the exact hit to her Sun, created a situation where disappointment ruled the day, based in an abdication (also Neptune-ruled) of her dominant position in the sport. Adding fuel to the fire was asteroid Tokio (alternate spelling for Tokyo, named for the Japanese capital) at 15 Pisces, also conjoined Ophelia. Biles’ presence at that specific geographic location was the final celestial straw which prompted her exit from the competition; had the 2020 Olympics been held anywhere else on the globe, she might well have performed as exceptionally as expected, but Tokio’s proximal goad to Ophelia was too strong to be denied.
Cranking up the pressure was transit Ophelia’s conjunction with the Sun/Olympiad conjunction that oversaw the Tokyo Games, with the Sun and Olympiada exactly conjoined at 4 Leo the day she withdrew from competition on July 27th, and Ophelia just a degree away at 5 Leo, increasing the pressure on mental health issues (in fact, had I but noted it in advance, this Sun/Olympiada/Ophelia combination for the start of the Games signaled quite clearly that a spotlight would be shone on mental health issues at some point during the competition). These squared natal asteroid NOT at 11 Taurus in Biles’ chart, a general disqualifier or block to progress, with transit Uranus still within orb of conjunction at 14 Taurus, eliciting the unexpected, shocking (both Uranus) action.
Transit NOT at 17 Sagittarius was running with transit Olympia at 16 Sagittarius, both embedded at station, and squared natal Ophelia at 19 Pisces. This depicts Biles’ decision not to proceed (NOT) with her participation in the Olympics (Olympia), based on her metal state (Ophelia). Incredibly, her return to competition on August 3rd coincided with NOT’s direct station, and a reversal of her prior stance. The transit Sun advanced to 11 Leo now exactly squared natal NOT, with transit Mercury also squared from 13 Leo, for her decision (Mercury) to not, not compete (i.e., to participate once more).
Transit Jupiter at her withdrawal was at 0 Pisces, exactly conjunct natal Olympia, bringing Olympic celebrity of a different sort than expected. Transit Simona at 27 Libra was on the fulcrum of a T-Square with Mercury at 28 Cancer opposed Pluto at 25 Capricorn, coaxing the decision (Mercury) which many found empowering, and others simply devastating (both Pluto), based in the emotional trauma (also Pluto-ruled) of her aunt’s death (Pluto again) and prior sexual abuse (ditto).
Gymnastics is a physically demanding sport, and many competitors retire early; at 24, this was Simone Biles’ stated plan, after performing in the 2020 Olympics. But she seems to be wavering, stating in a recent post-Games interview for “Today”, “I’m more than my medals and gymnastics. I’m a human being, and I’ve done some courageous things outside of the sport as well, and I’m not a quitter. If this situation didn’t happen, I would have never seen it that way.”
The 2024 Olympics are slated to be held in Paris, France, and asteroid Paris falls at 22 Sagittarius in Biles’ natal chart, filling in a Grand Cross with the Sun, Mars and asteroid Golden. I have a feeling she might be back.