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Simone Biles to Lead Women’s Olympics Gymnastics Team

| August 1, 2016

Expectations will be very high in Rio for the high-flying champion, Simone Biles (Photo - . USA Gymnastics/John Cheng)

Expectations will be very high in Rio for the high-flying champion, Simone Biles (Photo – . USA Gymnastics/John Cheng)

World Champion And Spring Resident Gets Ready To Make Her Mark In Rio De Janeiro

Team USA will send one of its most decorated and competitive women’s gymnastics teams ever to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in August as it attempts to defend its Olympic team gold medal for the first time in history.

Chosen after two intense nights of competition at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in July, the team is led by three-time all-around world champion Simone Biles, who is already the most decorated U.S. gymnast and will look to cement her place in history at her Olympic debut in Rio. Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman return to the Olympic team after winning both team and individual golds at the London Olympic Games four years ago. They become the first U.S. women’s gymnasts to make two Olympic teams since Dominique Dawes and Amy Chow did so from 1996 to 2000.

Joining them is first-year-senior standout Laurie Hernandez, who finished second to Biles at Olympic Trials and becomes the first Puerto Rican woman to make a U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team, and uneven bars specialist Madison Kocian, who last year won the world title in uneven bars in a four-way tie.

Spring resident Biles is the only female gymnast in history to win three consecutive world championships. The 19-year-old has been on the senior level for four years, ever since her senior debut at the 2013 AT&T American Cup.

Biles has an impressive fan club, including Mary Lou Retton, whose 1984 Olympic all-around gold medal was the first Olympic all-around gymnastics medal for a U.S. woman. “Just when we thought we were at the physical limit of the sport, then here comes Simone Biles,” Retton said at the Parade of Olympians event at the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team trials. “She’s the best I’ve ever seen.”

Standing 4 feet 9 inches tall, Biles is considered by many to be the greatest female gymnast ever. In three years, she won 14 world championship medals (10 golds), more than any U.S. athlete in history.

Biles has built her impressive legacy for four years, patiently waiting to make her mark at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, which run from August 5-21. She and the rest of the world have high expectations for her performance there. All eyes will be on her to see if she could take home five golds: team, all-around, balance beam, floor and vault. Biles struggles on uneven bars and has not won a world medal on that event.

Biles’ international experience highlights include her 14 world championship medals: two team golds (2014-15), three all-around golds (2013-15), three floor golds (2013-15), two golds (2014-15) and a bronze (2013) on balance beam, and two silvers (2013, 2015) and a bronze (2014) on vault.

At the Olympic Trials, Biles won the all-around, earning the sole automatic qualification spot, and was tops on floor exercise and vault, while finishing fourth on balance beam and tied for fourth on uneven bars.

Biles has trained since 2014 at World Championship Centre in Spring, which is operated by her parents, Nellie and Ron Biles. The facility offers training in preschool, recreational and competitive team gymnastics; tumbling and trampoline; American ninja warrior; dance and Taekwondo.

How did being named to the team feel compared to what she expected? “I think we all thought we would be a little bit more nervous in the waiting room, but we were just talking and on our phones and taking pictures – kind of having fun because you want to remember it as having fun instead of almost passing out,” Biles said.

As Rio looms closer, Biles shows herself to be a team player. “I’m excited about being with the girls all the time because we all know what it’s like to go through this and we have each other to lean on,” she said. “I think that’s the best thing that could have happened.”

Contributions from TeamUSA.org

 

(Photo - USA Gymnastics/John Cheng)

(Photo – USA Gymnastics/John Cheng)


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