Coach Boorman helps Biles tower over rivals

Wed Oct 28, 2015 10:01am EDT
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By Pritha Sarkar

GLASGOW (Reuters) - At just 4 feet 9, Simone Biles' petite frame barely reached the ears of Olympic champion Gabby Douglas, when the American team were introduced to the crowd at the gymnastics world championships in Glasgow on Tuesday.

Yet it is thanks her lack of height that the pint-sized dynamo is head and shoulders above her rivals and is already being feted as the greatest gymnast to have graced the sport -- even though she has yet to make her Olympic debut.

Under the careful guidance of her lifelong coach, Aimee Boorman, Biles has become such a force in the sport that her rivals now think she is "wired like a robot".

And the fact that she has barely grown since becoming a senior has enabled the 18-year-old to sustain an unprecedented level of performance.

"She stood out from the beginning. She’s been special from the beginning. When she was younger and competing at the lower levels, she had that star quality," Boorman told Reuters in an interview.

"She has this ray of light that shoots out of her when she competes. Even when she was eight years old, she could draw in the crowds."

In just three years as a senior, Biles has collected a stack of medals -- including seven golds at the worlds -- and now stands on the verge of becoming the first woman to win three successive all-around titles at the world championships.

While Biles did not want to think too far ahead about the possibility of creating history at the Hydro Arena on Thursday, preferring to "blank it all out", Boorman said: "It’s really cool (that she could achieve that).   Continued...

Simone Biles of the U.S. waits to compete in the women's team final at the World Gymnastics Championships at the Hydro arena in Glasgow, Scotland, October 27, 2015. REUTERS/Phil Noble