Tag Archives: Biles

Simone Biles asks fans to ‘tell me a secret’ to fight Tokyo boredom, report says

The world’s top gymnast is limited to her hotel room and practice while under Olympics COVID protocols, so she posted a question on Instagram.

U.S. gymnast Simone Biles is getting ready to win what could be a rare second Olympic all-around gold medal. But before that happens, she has to wait around in Tokyo under strict COVID-prevention rules.

That prompted Biles to reportedly posted in an Instagram Story recently: “Tell me a secret – I’m bored.”

Reuters reports Biles is unable to go anywhere but her hotel or practice, prompting the callout that was quickly responded to by her 4.4 million followers. And some of their comments were pretty deep.

One person reportedly announced they were pregnant, which got a “Congrats!” from Biles.

Another reportedly told the gymnast they had not told their father they were gay.

“Tell him, be free, be yourself. I support you,” Biles reportedly responded. “For anyone else struggling with telling family or friends, just know I will always welcome you with open arms on my page and platforms.”

Other secrets revealed to Biles reportedly included someone who was spending their inheritance on presents for their mothers and someone who said they muted a close friend on Instagram because “she posts the dumbest things.”

Biles concurred.

“Me too. Sometimes it’s needed,” she reportedly said.

Because it was posted to Instagram Story, the post automatically disappeared after 24 hours.

Biles, coming off her 7th U.S. gymnastics title, is in good position to repeat her haul of five medals from the 2016 Olympics in Rio. 

The women’s gymnastics team final is a week from Tuesday and the individual all-around is two days later. The individual apparatus finals are during the second week of the Games.

[embedded content]

Read more
This post originally posted here CBS8 – Sports

Simone Biles opens up about going out on her own terms

As gymnastics star Simone Biles looks to become a repeat Olympic champion, she’s opening up about her future and when she’ll know it’s time to call it quits.

WASHINGTON — U.S. gymnastics star Simone Biles and her teammates arrived in Tokyo Thursday ahead of the Olympic Games. 

Biles spoke to the Associated Press on Wednesday before taking off for Japan and said she’s excited to be representing the U.S. again at the Olympics, but knows it’s going to be a completely different environment than the 2016 Rio Games. Japan’s government has banned fans, including athletes’ family members, from attending any competitions to try to contain surging COVID-19 cases. 

“Yeah, it’s going to be really tough, I think, only because I’ve never competed without a crowd. I’ve never competed without my family there. So to be very different. But I know they’ll be there in spirit and we’ll be chatting before and after the meet. So hopefully fingers crossed it goes well,” Biles explained. 

The 24-year-old is looking to become the first female gymnast to become a repeat Olympic champion in more than 50 years.  

Biles is featured on the cover of the latest issue of Sports Illustrated and discussed when it might be the right time to call it quits. She explained that she wants to go out on her own terms.

“Always have to give something you love up on your own time and I think that’s why I would stop because I wouldn’t want it taken from me and have a doctor say you can’t do this or it’ll be really hurtful to you, so I’d rather just hang it up myself and you just have to learn when it’s your time, whenever that is,” she explained.

After winning four gold and one bronze medals at the 2016 Games, Biles is ready to headline an American team heavily favored to win a third straight Olympic title.  

[embedded content]

Read more
This post originally posted here CBS8 – Sports

Check out this stop-motion video of Simone Biles made of 100 paper cutouts

Each paper cutout in the video is one part of a Simone Biles floor routine tumbling pass, but her leotard constantly changes color.

A Seattle artist’s stop-motion video of Simone Biles, made out of paper cutouts of the top gymnast in the world, has gone viral and has caught the eye of Biles herself. It’s a celebration of the woman dubbed by many as the greatest of all time as she heads to her second Olympics in Tokyo this month.

Rudy Willingham’s video has received more than 50,000 likes and counting since being posted more than a week ago.

The video involves 100 images of Biles printed out on paper. Each image is one part of a Biles floor routine tumbling pass.

You see Biles’ face, hands and legs, but her leotard is cut out of the paper. Willingham put each piece of paper over a different background (such as the U.S. flag), so that each image has a different leotard.

Put each frame together, thanks to some video editing software that helped line everything up, and you get one fluid video with an ever-changing leotard, set to Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now.”

“The backgrounds are switching so fast that it almost forces your brain to focus on whatever is moving on the paper, and it turns into a kaleidoscope of color, a moving piece of art,” Willingham said, according to USA TODAY.

Biles reportedly reposted the video on her Instagram story.

Joining Biles on the 2020 U.S. women’s Olympics gymnastics team are first-time Olympians Suni Lee, Jordan Chiles, Grace McCallum, MyKayla Skinner and Jade Carey. Skinner and Carey will only compete in individual events while the other four will also be in the team competition. Carey earned her own spot through the World Cup circuit, separate from the Olympic trials.

[embedded content]

Author: Travis Pittman
Read more here >>> CBS8 – Sports

Simone’s Showcase: Biles bidding for history in Tokyo

When the 24-year-old star steps in front of the world in Tokyo, she’ll be trying to become the first female gymnast in 50+ years to repeat as Olympic champion.

Simone Biles is aware of the pressure. She welcomes it. Practically invites it. Look no further than the sequined goat she’s nicknamed “Goldie” that occasionally finds its way onto her competition leotard.

The symbol — a play on the acronym for greatest of all-time — is both a nod to her hard-earned status as the most talented gymnast (and maybe athlete) on the planet and the outsized expectations she faces, both internally and externally.

It’s a delicate dance, one that will take center stage when the 24-year-old American steps in front of the world in Tokyo. No pressure. All she has to do is somehow one-up her staggering performance in Rio de Janeiro, when she won five medals (including four gold) and entered the rarified air of Olympic royalty reserved for the likes of Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt and Nadia Comaneci.

Yes, it’s a lot. Then again, whatever bar is set for her by others pales in comparison to the bar Biles sets for herself. It’s why she found herself in tears at the U.S. Olympic Trials, when an off night in the finals left her frustrated and angry.

“I feel like anything rather than my best will tick me off,” Biles said.

It’s that drive that led Biles to return to the gym after a year off following her remarkable success in Brazil. New coaches Laurent and Cecille Landi helped her put together a plan that didn’t ask her to simply regain the skills that made her the best in the world, but build upon them.

She’s unveiled a series of boundary-pushing elements over the last four years, and her latest — the Yurchenko double-pike vault, which has only previously been done in international competition by men — will become the latest to bear her name in the sport’s Code of Points if she’s able to land it in Japan.

Yes, Biles is well aware of her influence. She didn’t get into this trying to become a point of inspiration. Yet she’s hardly running from the responsibility.

“When somebody is striving for perfection and doing her skills, it pushes other athletes to know that it’s possible and that they can do it, too,” Biles said. “So, I feel like I would say we have reached a point where gymnastics is getting more difficult and more difficult and a little bit more dangerous. So we’re kind of walking on eggshells here, but it’s exciting to watch.”

Other things to look for in Tokyo:

ABUSE SCANDALS

The competition floor isn’t the only place the sport is treading carefully.

Gymnastics has spent much of the last five years trying to address a culture of abuse at the elite level all over the globe. The scandal surrounding disgraced former U.S. national team doctor Larry Nassar — who sexually abused athletes ( Biles included ) under the guise of medical treatment — started a reckoning of sorts.

Federations from the U.S. to Great Britain to Australia have been grappling with how to create a healthier atmosphere for their elite athletes. Whether any real progress has been made won’t be known for years, though the top American women allow the vibe is more relaxed now than it was during former national team coordinator Martha Karolyi’s highly successful — and highly divisive — tenure.

“I feel like it’s a lot more fun,” said MyKayla Skinner, who will compete as an individual qualifier.

TALENT OVERLOAD

At least for the Americans, who are heavily favored to win their third straight Olympic title. Sure, having Biles helps. But the U.S. squad is as loaded as ever. Sunisa Lee, who actually outscored Biles in the all-around during the second day at Olympic Trials, is a revelation on uneven bars. Jordan Chiles steadiness in 2021 turned her from a fringe Olympic candidate to a gymnast who may come back to the States with multiple medals.

There’s so much wiggle room, national team coordinator Tom Forster admitted he actually potentially sacrificed a few tenths of a point by choosing Grace McCallum to fill out the four-woman team instead of Skinner.

“We’re so, so fortunate that our athletes are so strong that I don’t think it’s going to come down to tenths of a point in Tokyo,” Forster said.

THE MEN

It might, however, in the men’s competition, where Russia, China and potentially host Japan figure to be in a fight for the top of the podium in the team event. Russian Nikita Nagornyy, the 2019 world all-around champion, leads the field in the men’s all around.

There has been a changing of the guard of sorts among the American men, who are trying to get back to the podium for the first time since the 2014 world championships. Brody Malone, a 20-year-old from northwest Georgia, supplanted six-time national champion and two-time Olympian Sam Mikulak as the program’s standard-bearer after winning both the U.S. championships and the Olympic Trials.

ONE MORE TIME

The Games will also serve as a goodbye for a couple of Olympic legends. Two-time Olympic champion Kohei Uchimura of Japan — in many ways, the men’s equivalent of Biles — will get a chance to say take a bow in front of his homeland after qualifying as an individual. And 46-year-old Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan will compete in her record eighth Olympics.

Chusovitina has pledged she’s ready to retire several times through the years. Yet this is likely her last stand. It may be for Biles, too. But maybe not. Her coaches are French, and she hasn’t ruled out a third Games as a way of thanking them for helping rekindle her love for the sport.

For now, however, Tokyo awaits.

“I’m very relieved that Olympic Trials is over and we still have a lot of work to put in once we get over there,” she said. “But I’m super excited.”

So is everyone else.

[embedded content]

Author: WILL GRAVES (AP Sports Writer)
Read more here >>> CBS8 – Sports

Biles, Lee, Chiles lead way at US gymnastics trials

Simone Biles dominated the leaderboard on the first night of Olympic trials and didn’t even pull out her new vault to do it.

ST. LOUIS — Simone Biles is primed for Tokyo.

The world and Olympic gymnastics champion put on a dazzling display during the U.S. Olympic Trials on Friday night, pulling out all the stops — well, almost all of them — on her way to a commanding lead and a spot in Japan next month.

Her all-around total of 60.565 included a 15.133 on beam that featured the “double-double” dismount named for her, a maneuver she’s kept under wraps since the 2019 world championships. She opted to skip the Yurchenko double-pike vault she unveiled in competition last month and still posted the top score on the event.

Her floor exercise — the one that includes not one but two eponymous elements in the sport’s Code of Points — was both spectacular and spectacularly controlled. Clearly frustrated after stepping out of bounds several times while winning her seventh national title earlier this month, Biles kept her toes well inside the white lines during her law-of-physics pushing tumbling passes.

The top two all-around finishers Sunday night after the finals automatically qualify for the Olympic team. Biles is a lock no matter what happens Sunday.

Sunisa Lee and Jordan Chiles are nearing that territory, too. They might already be there.

The trio of Biles, Lee and Chiles came in 1-2-3 at nationals. They’re in the same positions heading into the finals after Lee put up a 57.666, followed by Chiles at 57.132, more than a half-point ahead of MyKayla Skinner.

While many of her competitors eased back into competition following a long break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chiles sprinted to the title at Winter Cup in February and has been a fixture in the top three in event meet since. Perhaps just as importantly, she’s seemingly become immune to the pressure. She’s now completed 20 events over the last four months, without a fall on any of them.

Not even Biles, who came off uneven bars at the U.S. Classic in May, can say that.

The selection committee has set aside 30 minutes after the end of finals to put the team together. They might need every last second of it to see who earns the fourth spot.

Skinner, 24, is making a pretty compelling case. An alternate in 2016, Skinner went to college after the Rio Olympics before returning to the elite level in 2019. She spent part of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown battling the novel coronavirus and pneumonia.

Health scares behind her, she is putting on some of the best gymnastics of her career. Feeding off the energy inside an electric Dome at America’s Center, Skinner finished in the top five in three events, imploring the crowd to roar at the end of every dismount.

Skinner, Grace McCallum and Kayla DiCello are separated by just three-tenths of a point, with Kara Eaker a little further back. DiCello bounced back from a sluggish performance in which she fell on multiple events to finish in the top six in three of four events.

The race for the “plus-one” specialist spot appears to be Riley McCusker’s to lose. Her bars routine is world-class, her 14.800 score would put her in the mix for a medal in Tokyo if she were able to replicate it.

Jade Carey, who earned a nominative individual spot through the World Cup series, is the only gymnast who entered the meet with her spot already secured. She drilled her Amanar vault, her score of 15.2 second only to Biles on the event.

Author:
This post originally appeared on CBS8 – Sports

Seven for Simone: Biles claims another US Gymnastics title

Simone Biles finished nearly five points ahead of runner-up Sunisa Lee and good friend and teammate Jordan Chiles.

FORT WORTH, Texas — Simone Biles looks ready for Tokyo. So it seems, are the leading contenders vying to join the reigning world and Olympic gymnastics champion in Japan next month.

The 24-year-old Biles claimed her seventh U.S. title Sunday night, delivering another stunning — and stunningly easy — performance that served little doubt the pressure surrounding her bid to become the first woman to win back-to-back Olympic all-around gold in more than 50 years is only pushing her to even greater heights.

Shaking off a somewhat sloppy start Friday, at least by her impeccable standards, Biles put on a four-rotation showcase on what separates her from every other gymnast on the planet. Her score of 119.650 was nearly five points better than runner-up Sunisa Lee and good friend and teammate Jordan Chiles.

While Biles’ victory was never in doubt — it rarely has been during her nearly eight-year reign atop the sport — she remains in no mood to coast. Visibly annoyed after stepping out of bounds three times during her floor routine on Friday, Biles responded the way she almost always does: by cleaning things up and expanding what is possible on the competition floor.

And to think she didn’t even bother with her latest innovation, a Yurchenko double-pike vault she drilled twice at the U.S. Classic last month that caught the attention of everyone from LeBron James to Michelle Obama. Instead, she opted for two with slightly lower difficulty that she completed so casually it was hard to tell if she was in front of an arena that screamed for her at every turn or just fooling around at practice back home in Houston.

Not that it mattered. She still posted the top score on vault anyway. Just like she did on beam. Just like she did on floor. Just like always.

Biles started her night on balance beam and with the instrumental from Lizzo’s “Good as Hell” playing while the entire arena stopped to watch, she barely even wobbled while putting together a series that remains among the gold standard in the world on an event that’s maybe her third best.

Her floor exercise, the one that includes two elements already named after her in the sport’s Code of Points, was far more precise than it was on Friday. She was well in bounds on all but one of her tumbling passes and her 14.950 included a 6.8 D-score, which ranks the difficulty of the routine, tied for the highest by any athlete on any event at the meet.

Lee, competing on a bad ankle that sometimes left her limping around the arena, Lee appears to be gaining momentum following a sluggish return to competition last month. Behind a bars routine that is one of the most innovative and electric on the planet, Lee fended off a strong challenge from Chiles to hold on to silver.

Chiles continued her remarkable rise over the last six months, finishing runner-up to Biles for the second time in three weeks. The 20-year-old, who started training alongside Biles two years ago, is practically now a lock to be named to the U.S. Olympic team following the trials in St. Louis later this month.

The real intrigue heading into the trials might be who else can emerge from a crowded field. Leanne Wong finished fourth, with Emma Malabuyo fifth. Jade Carey, who has already secured an at-large berth to the Olympics thanks to her performance on the World Cup circuit, was sixth.

The group at the trials, however, will not include Laurie Hernandez. A two-time Olympic medalist in 2016, Hernandez did not compete after injuring her left knee on a beam dismount during warm-ups on Friday. The 20-year-old shared a picture of herself in her Captain American/Falcon-inspired leotard anyway sporting a sizable tape job over her injured knee.

Author:
This post originally appeared on CBS8 – Sports

Simone Biles lands move no female gymnast has ever done in competition

With the Tokyo Olympics just nine weeks away, Simone Biles could make history again this weekend during her return to competition.

WASHINGTON — Simone Biles will compete this weekend for the first time in almost 600 days and it looks like she’s got something extra special in store. 
During U.S. Classic podium training on Friday, the 24-year-old Texan successfully landed a new vault no female has ever attempted in competition.  
It’s called a Yurchenko double pike. It’s a roundoff onto the springboard, a back handspring onto the vault and ends with a piked double backflip to the landing.
“I just got a little nervous on the landing,” Biles, the most decorated gymnast in World Championship history, could be heard telling her coach after almost sticking the landing. 
The four-time Olympic gold medalist has been dropping tease videos of herself practicing the Yurchenko double pike dating back to February 2020. 
Back in April, Biles confirmed she planned to debut the vault before the Tokyo Olympics. 
According to NBC Sports, Biles told reporters after podium training that she practiced the vault twice and Friday and feels “really good going into tomorrow.” 
Biles will compete during Saturday night’s session of the U.S. Classic. 
Olympic gold medalist Nastia Liukin was clearly a fan and tweeted video of the vault from another perspective. 
Biles also said during the post-training news conference that she was actually “really nervous” right before, according to ESPN
“I was like, ‘It’s ok, I’ve done this so many times.’ I’ve been doing it for months now. So I felt prepared and I knew I was prepared, it was just the initial landing out there in the arena,” she said, ESPN reported. 
It’s looking likely this could be the fifth “Biles” skill named after her in the sport’s Code of Points.

Author:
This post originally appeared on CBS8 – Sports

Swan song? Simone Biles gears up for one more Olympic ride

The meet is the start of a frantic stretch that will end with Biles attempting to become the first woman in over 50 years to repeat as Olympic champion.

Simone Biles hops up in a chair and lets out a small sigh.
“Only 12 more weeks,” the greatest gymnast of her generation and any other says with a hint of wistfulness.
Not 12 weeks until the Tokyo Olympics begin. But until they’re over.
Don’t misunderstand. This summer, the 24-year-old has every intention on becoming the first woman to repeat as Olympic champion in more than a half-century. To drag, push and pull her sport into the future. To use her ever-expanding platform to advocate for real, substantive change within USA Gymnastics as it tries to emerge from the rubble of the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal. 
Still. Biles is tired. The five years since her glorious star turn in Rio de Janeiro — when she won four gold medals and five in all — have taken a toll. On her mind. On her spirit. And definitely on her big toes, which remain in her words “shattered.”
She needs a break. Probably an extended one. Maybe a permanent one. 
“She’s ready for the next phase,” said Cecile Landi, who along with husband Laurent has served as Biles’ coach since the fall of 2017.
For now, history beckons.
Biles will walk onto the competition floor for the first time in more than 18 months on Saturday night at the US Classic in Indianapolis. The meet marks the start of a frantic stretch in which Biles will stand at the center of a white-hot spotlight of her own creation not only as the face of gymnastics but the entire U.S. Olympic movement and perhaps the Tokyo Games themselves. 
Yes, that’s her megawatt smile featured at the end of nearly every NBC Olympic promo. The image and the ubiquity of it initially caught her off guard. Scared her even. Not anymore.
Maybe because she treats it as part of the outside noise she’s done her best to mute.
She didn’t ask to be immersed in three different social movements at once. It happened anyway. Three years ago she came forward as one of the hundreds of young women abused by Nassar — a longtime USA Gymnastics team doctor — under the guise of medical treatment. As a prominent Black athlete, she’s found herself trying to find a way to use her platform to speak out against social injustice. As a female, she’s become increasingly focused on aligning herself with entities that make empowering other women a priority, one of the driving forces behind her decision to recently leave Nike for Athleta. 
“It’s kind of scary sometimes having that power placed into my hands because I didn’t ask for it,” she said. “So I’m also getting used to that and I have to be careful about what I say because I know the impact that I can have.”
It takes discipline. There are times she finds herself with her phone in her hands, her emotions running high and an off-the-cuff message typed out. 
Thank God for the delete button. 
“Because since I’m very blunt, I have to put it in a way that is going to make it seem not as harsh,” Biles said.
Whatever emerges, she stressed, has to remain authentic. Yes, she’s aware she’s become in some ways a brand. Yet there remains something refreshingly unassuming about her worldview, even if it comes at a cost.
“She is highly scrutinized for everything she says, everything she does, everything she wears, everything that comes out of her mouth,” her mother Nellie Biles said. “I mean, it’s a hard world to live in because you’re being judged and everyone is judging you about who they think you represent.”
So Biles does her best to lead by example, an influencer in the original sense. That includes trying to nudge the sport she’s dedicated her life to into a new, more balanced era.
Biles is one of a select few still competing who are holdovers from the reign of former national team coordinator Martha Karolyi. The rigid and occasionally abrasive Karolyi oversaw USA Gymnastics’ ascendance into a global power, a rise in which the athletes were largely powerless soldiers. The system predicated on silence and obedience paved the way for prodigies like Biles to become champions. It also allowed Nassar’s predatory behavior to run unchecked.
USA Gymnastics is still trying to find a way forward, with more than a little prodding from Biles. She expressed frustration in 2018 at having to train on the Karolyi Ranch, the site of some of Nassar’s abuses. Shortly thereafter, USA Gymnastics backed out of an agreement to take over the facility. Later that year Biles chastised then-president Kerry Perry for her ineffectiveness. A month later Perry stepped down  under  pressure. Perry’s successor, Mary Bono, lasted less than a week after Biles questioned  an Instagram post in which Bono took issue with Black athletes who chose to protest police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem.
While Li Li Leung’s arrival in the spring of 2019 has provided some stability, Biles will go to work for a national governing body for which her feelings remain complex. 
“It’s hard,” she said. “Especially when you have so many pent-up emotions about it because of what I’ve been through. … I block it out, go out there represent the gym, represent the country. It’s the last thing on my mind.”
The first thing on her mind? Doing what she does better than anyone else on the planet.
Biles hasn’t spent the last five years coasting. She’s spent it pushing herself and gymnastics to places it once seemed impossible to go. She has turned the sport’s Code of Points into her own personal keepsake. She has elements named after her on multiple events, with perhaps another on vault in the offing.
Laurent Landi believes Biles is “very close to her full potential.”
Which really was the point of the whole thing. Why she opted — on her own terms, she insists — to return to the gym in late 2017. Why she stuck around for a full year after the 2020 Olympics were postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s in a leotard with the world watching where she’s most comfortable. Doing the things only she can do, awing her peers while trying to silence her inner critic in the process. 
Still, she knows she can’t just go out there and “just” win. She’s done that for the last eight years. She needs to put on spectacle much as Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt did during their unparalleled Olympic careers.
In some ways, Biles understands she’s a victim of her own brilliance. At the same time, ask her which medal from Rio means the most and she brings up the bronze she won on balance beam when she reached down to grab the 4-inch slab of wood in the middle of her routine, a rare miscue that cost her a shot at gold.
“People were really upset,” Biles said. “Guys, it’s still a medal for the country and it’s still a medal for myself, and if anybody else was going to get bronze they would have been cheering but it was Simone so they were, like, pissed.”
Still, there’s a reason the couches in her office at the sprawling World Champions Centre in the northern Houston suburbs are gold, after all.
That’s the standard she’s set for herself. A standard she alone can touch. A standard she is embracing not out of habit or duty but choice. 
“I want to do this and nobody is forcing me,” she said. “Now, it’s just for myself.”
Enjoy the show. However long it lasts.
More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/olympic-games and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Author:
This post originally appeared on CBS8 – Sports