Coach Boorman helps Biles tower over rivals

Thu Oct 29, 2015 7:41pm EDT
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By Pritha Sarkar

GLASGOW (Reuters) - Lining up alongside her team mates, no one would have blamed Simone Biles if she felt like standing on her tiptoes, or even slipping on a pair of six-inch heels, when the Americans were introduced to the crowd at the gymnastics world championships.

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 Glasgow's Hydro Arena 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".

"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...

Gold medalist Simone Biles of the U.S poses with her medal after the women's all-round final at the World Gymnastics Championships at the Hydro Arena in Glasgow, Scotland, October 29, 2015.   REUTERS/Phil Noble