On Sept. 29, Simone Biles, Katelyn Ohashi and several other world-renowned gymnasts will bring their athletics-entertainment extravaganza show to the Sacramento area. With a star-studded cast and an opportunity for superfans to dance with their idols, the Gold Over America Tour promises to bring much more than gymnastics to the stage.
In addition to highlights from the athletes’ famous routines, shows will feature multimedia performances and plenty of high-voltage production.
“The tour is gonna be like a pop concert mixed with gymnastics, dance ... social media interactions ... LED lights, spoken word,” said Jordan Chiles, who recently stepped in last-minute to help the US gymnastics team win a silver medal in the team final of the Tokyo Olympics. “So that’s basically what you should be able to expect when you’re walking into the tour. It’s going to be a lot of excitement, a lot of joy, a lot of happiness and a lot of fun.”
Opening with a date in Tuscon, Arizona, on Sept. 21, the Gold Over America tour will visit 35 U.S. arenas this fall. The tour will wrap up Nov. 7, meaning the tour will average a little more than five shows a week for its seven-week run.
Headlining the tour is Biles, the most-decorated gymnast of all time. Supporting the superstar are several gymnasts who earned the U.S. its six medals in the 2020 summer Olympics — Chiles, Jade Carey, Grace McCallum and MyKayla Skinner. In addition, the show will include performances by other notable athletes, including NCAA champion Katelyn Ohashi, who amassed a large fanbase when videos of her ebullient, theatrical UCLA routines went viral in 2019.
Unlike similar tours that have capitalized on US gymnasts’ stardom in the past, the Gold Over America Tour is not presented by USA Gymnastics, the sport’s controversial national governing body.
Many of the gymnasts involved have levied damning criticisms against the leadership’s enabling and disastrous mishandling of former U.S. gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar’s decades-long sexual abuse of his patients. The tour takes place in Nassar’s shadow, as USA Gymnastics considers a $425 million settlement to be distributed to the more than 300 girls and women Nassar assaulted during his tenure.
“This is Simone’s tour herself,” said Chiles, Biles’ longtime friend and mentee. “And honestly, she has a voice herself and can speak to basically who she wants to speak to.”
With the sheer force of Biles’ star power, the athletes are presenting a performance divorced from problematic organizations that once dominated gymnastics, and they’re using their platform for good.
In addition to providing audiences with action-packed routines, the show will feature earnest discussion of mental health, body image and other serious issues common in the sport.
And behind the scenes, the gymnasts themselves are implementing these lessons in their day-to-day life: With the school year-friendly tour, performers will venture to the 35 cities in a mere 47 days. And to cope with the grueling schedule, Chiles said, she is planning on scheduling plenty of time for self-care, coloring, relaxing and soaking in the beauty of each city.
“I don’t want to get too stressed or too overwhelmed and have a little mental breakdown,” said Chiles. “So we’re just going to bring some good old coloring books and drawing papers and make sure that I just stay nice and focused… We just have to make sure that we’re physically healthy, we’re mentally healthy.”
Even with the gymnasts’ formidable performances — and the worldwide attention they receive during summer Olympics — Chiles seems hesitant to predict that the tour could attract viewers to help the sport transcend its four-year cycle and achieve consistent mainstream popularity.
“I feel like it might be heading in that direction [of increased viewership], but then at the same time… We can say things and they may change or may not change.”
But if Chiles has any doubts regarding the reach of the sport itself, she does not doubt the power of one of its best athletes: Biles. After Biles’ much-discussed departure from her planned Olympic performance, she has emerged as a vocal proponent of mental health awareness. And now — a month after the closing Tokyo gymnastics events — Chiles has no doubt of Biles’ ability to uplift others.
“Having her as an idol and inspiration has definitely helped a lot because she can inspire not only just me, but a lot of people in different ways,” Chiles said.
Despite the show’s incorporation of serious themes — and the dark background of the elite gymnastics landscape — Chiles emphasizes that attending the show is sure to be a vitalizing and exciting experience chock-full of fun.
“It is going to be a gymnastics spectacular,” said Chiles “You’re going to have the time of your life and think of it as a concert, but with gymnastics.”
If you go
Tickets for the Sacramento stop of the Gold Over America Tour are available at https://www.goldoveramericatour.com/goat/tickets.html. Tickets start at $69.