"Her own league"

19-year-old gymnast Simone Biles expected to dominate 2016 Olympics

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EVERETT, WA - APRIL 09: Simone Biles of the United States competes in the floor exercise during Day 2 of the 2016 Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championships at Xfinity Arena on April 9, 2016 in Everett, Washington. Biles won the all-around competition. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

With the 2016 Olympics set to begin this August, the gymnastics world has its eyes trained on 19-year-old Simone Biles, winner of the last three World Championships — and the only female gymnast to ever win three World Championships in a row. Paul Ziert, publisher of International Gymnast, believes that “if she doesn’t win five of the six Olympic gold medals it would be a disappointment.” And according to Aly Raisman, captain of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team, “All the girls are like, ‘Simone’s just in her own league. Whoever gets second place, that’s the winner.'” The combined difficulty of her routines on the floor and balance beam is such that fans within the sport are debating if Biles could fall twice and still win gold.

Aimee Boorman, Biles’ coach, doesn’t limit the young athlete’s diet — a rarity in a sport where a pound here or there could mean the difference between success and failure. And Biles only trains 32 hours a week, fewer than most gymnasts. Biles’ strength and health, however, are her greatest assets. Biles has so far remained virtually uninjured, despite hitting the ground with the force of two colliding football players whenever she lands following a tumbling run. Her unique vault, known as the Amanar, involves a combination of flips and twists nearly unprecedented in difficulty. And she recently debuted a new vault, thus far unnamed, that was deemed to be even harder.

“People say I’m the best, but I still don’t think that,” Biles has said. “I guess if I go to the Olympics and do well, maybe I’ll believe it.”

Read the whole story at The New Yorker.

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