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Simone Biles/Instagram Simone Biles and Jonathan Owens
Simone Biles is reflecting on the past year after her road to the Tokyo Olympics was postponed.
The 24-year-old athlete, who is the most decorated American gymnast with a combined total of 30 Olympic and World Championship medals, tells PEOPLE during the Team USA Tokyo Olympics media summit that she was able to take some time away from her sport, her second longest time off ever, to enjoy quality time with her loved ones.
"After Rio [in 2016] I actually took a year and a half off, so that was definitely the most time I've ever had off. For the quarantine, seven weeks off," Biles says. "I already knew that if the Olympics were to be postponed, I was going to take about three months off just to gather my thoughts, protect and take care of my body and mind, my spirit."
Biles, who also adds that she's "feeling pretty good and pretty confident" about her preparation for the Games, continued to do workouts with her coaches via Zoom but spent a lot of her COVID lockdown on pause like everyone else.
"What's been really exciting is being able to experience life with my family and friends," Biles shares, adding, "Getting to go to my boyfriend's [NFL] games. I told him that I've never been to so many games in a season in my life. Because usually, I'm so busy and all over the place."
Biles has been dating Houston Texans safety Jonathan Owens. The couple made their romance Instagram official in August 2020.
"In the beginning of quarantine, it was really, really hard because me and my family are tight-knit and my parents wouldn't let me over to their house for months. It was just, kind of, the dogs and I chilling at home," Biles continues. "I would take them on so many walks. They were so sick of me because I was just so bored. That was the hardest part of being alone during that time."
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Biles had her last competition at the 2019 World Championships and is currently gearing up for the 2021 Classic and U.S. Championships. She is expected to make the U.S. Olympic team at the Olympic Trials in June.
Also during the Tokyo Olympics media summit, Biles spoke about how the Games will probably be her first competition without her parents in the stands cheering for her as she says she's "never competed without my family there."
"I know it was really saddening for them to hear the news. But at the end of the day, we have to do what's right and protect ourselves. Again, we have to protect Tokyo and their citizens so I fully understand and agree with their decision," she tells reporters, referring to Japan's decision to bar foreign spectators due to fears that international visitors could carry the coronavirus into the host country.
"I know they're going to have a party here at the house. Well, not like a party but a watch party here at the gym and at the house with close family. They'll be there in spirit, I know it's going to be hard," Biles explains of her loved ones. "It'll definitely be different, I've already joked about how my mom is trying to get a credential or be media. She's going to do something to be there because I've never not had my family. It's going to be really, really weird but we're going to have so much support there in spirit."
The Tokyo Olympics are currently scheduled to take place from July 23 through Aug. 8, 2021.
To learn more about all the Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics this summer on NBC.