(Katy) Simone Biles’ athletic superpowers have made her a gymnastics star, but as the Paris Olympics (July 26-August 11) approach, her teammates are especially praising the champion’s “human qualities.” American.
After the collapse of the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 where, victim of orientation disorders, she ended up withdrawing to concentrate on her mental health, followed by two chaotic years, the American gymnastics superstar Simone Biles resumed the path to competitions with flying colors.
After her demonstration at the World Championships in Antwerp (Belgium) in October 2023 (four titles), she should shine again on the big Olympic stage in Paris.
At 26 years old (27 on March 14), after having been a golden teenager at the Rio Games in 2016 (four titles at 19), Simone Biles now serves as a tutelary figure for much younger teammates who dream like her of podiums.
“For me, the age gap doesn’t matter in the gym,” says 17-year-old Joscelyn Roberson, who trains with the legend at the World Champions Center (WCC) in Spring ( Texas). Roberson was part of the gold medal-winning American team at the World Championships in Antwerp with Biles, but an injury quickly halted his competition.
“We all train with the same objective, and we do it in the same way, our difficulties are the same. Getting to know Simone has truly been a lot of fun. »
The young American’s links with the practicable star date back to before their first meeting, when Biles posted on her social networks a video of Roberson, then aged 9, successfully performing a backflip with a twist, and commented “I’m admiring” .
“It made me feel unique,” Roberson said Sunday during a media day a few months before the Games.
“I think I admire his human qualities more than his gymnastic qualities,” says Zoe Miller, another WCC member, team and uneven bars gold medalist at the Pan American Games last year.
“That’s because I know her much better than most people.” She is very humble, caring and always takes care of me. »
Tiana Sumanasekera, another team champion at the Pan American Games, assures that Miller and Biles are the queens of the atmosphere, even when the training gets tough.
“We’re a group of crazy girls. We love laughing together, and Simone and Zoe make a hilarious duo,” assures the 16-year-old sportswoman.
“Even when the days are tough, they’ll crack a joke and make us laugh when we were about to cry instead. »
Many of Biles’ training partners dream of a first Olympic selection, but Jordan Chiles was present in Tokyo, when the great champion had given up on most of the events, suffering because of losing her bearings in the space (“twisties”).
Chiles says she is “proud” to see Biles back at the top of gymnastics, a sport she has transcended like Michael Phelps with swimming or Serena Williams with tennis. Biles has notably highlighted mental health problems in high-level sport, in addition to speaking out in recent years for dozens of gymnasts sexually abused by former doctor Larry Nassar.
“Being able to witness her return after Tokyo and see her become what she wants to become… This girl is incredible, exceptional,” breathes Chiles, in team silver in Japan.