Stuttgart (Germany) (AFP)
She is already an icon of world sports, but Simone Biles still has multiple strings to her name to register her name even more indelibly in the history of gymnastics, at the World Championships in Stuttgart (Germany), where she enters on track Saturday.
A year ago, at the World Cup in Doha, Biles sparkled a thousand lights for its comeback on the international scene, she who had granted a sabbatical in the aftermath of the glitzy Olympics 2016, rich of four coronations (open competition , ground, jump and team) and a bronze medal (beam).
In the Emirati capital, the little American bomb mounted on all the possible podiums - six (including four times on the highest step) - which no one had accomplished in more than thirty years (Shushunova in 1987). Even better, she became the most successful gymnast at the Worlds in history by dethroning another legend, the Belarusian Vitaly Scherbo (14 to 12).
Yet it was only a year ago that Biles had returned to the gym under the leadership of a new duo of coaches, the French Cécile and Laurent Landi.
And she would have had every reason to be destabilized after revealing in early 2018 to be one of the victims of Larry Nassar, ex-doctor of the women's gymnastics team at the origin of one of the most serious scandals in the history of American sport, heavily condemned for hundreds of sexual assaults committed for two decades.
- "The Biles" -
Still, the 22-year-old Texan gymnast has not rested on her laurels since. Far from there.
Already in Doha, she gave her name to an unprecedented jump, which became "The Biles" for posterity: in gymnastics, succeeding an element never before achieved in a major international competition is thus rewarded with the International Federation's Code of Points. (FIG).
In Stuttgart, there are three (!) Original movements that she will baptize with her name, if she manages to achieve them.
One at asymmetrical bars, but especially two ultra complex, on the ground, precisely a triple-double (triple twist and double back salto), and output to the beam, there a double-double.
"Putting my name on a movement, it's really exciting, just to prove to me that I'm able to do it, especially under pressure, and it's really rewarding, because it's forever - the medals too - but it's something that stays because I'm the one who did it first, compared Biles earlier this week.
To be able to measure the extreme difficulty with which it dares to attack, it is necessary to know that the elements were hitherto classified from A, for the easier ones to I, for the most difficult ones. But the triple-double is so difficult that the FIG technical committee decided to create one more level (J). The double-double to the beam is him H.
- Soon the most medalist? -
It was at the heart of the summer, at the US Championships, that Biles blazed by unveiling these two new movements. Her triple-double on the ground, herself stamped with impatience to see him on video. "I did not want to be the last person to see him," she smiled. Never before had a woman realized it. Successful on the German carpet, it would become "The Biles II", the American champion having already put his name on a first element on the same apparatus five years ago.
"I never thought I would be able to do them in competition one day, but Cécile and Laurent (Landi) helped me a lot to believe in me," says Biles, who now feels "fairly confident about these elements" and is "anxious to tempt them".
In terms of winners too, Biles has all the cards in hand to push the limits further.
Already the first quadruple world champion gymnast in the general competition (Uchimura is six times men's side), we do not see who could prevent him from wearing a fifth crown.
And becoming the one at the head of the most extensive collection of world medals is quite within reach: for now, it has twenty. That is "only" three less than Scherbo (23 between 1991 and 1996).
© 2019 AFP