Gymnastics: Biles has free pass to use as ticket to Rio Games

Thu Jul 7, 2016 5:38pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

SAN JOSE, California (Reuters) - When you are a three-time world all-around champion you get a free pass and Simone Biles will have one tucked into her leotard if needed at this weekend's U.S. women's Olympic gymnastics trials.

It is doubtful, however, that Biles will need any charity to punch her ticket to next month's Rio Games.

The petite dynamo enters the two-day Olympic trials in top form having demolished the same field she will face here just two weeks ago when she became the first woman in 42 years to win four consecutive U.S. women's gymnastics championships.

Asked on Thursday if there was anything that could happen on Friday and Sunday to keep Biles off the team, women's national team program director Marta Karolyi paused for a moment, looked upwards, thought and answered; "I don't think so.

"She has a fantastic past so certainly if she would have a bad day we would go back and analyze what she did before and compare with the other contenders.

"I really don't assume that."

None of the other 15 women battling for the five coveted spots will get the same benefit of the doubt, not even 2012 London Olympic double gold medallist Gabby Douglas.

The darling of the London Games, Douglas, who has developed a reputation of thriving at the biggest moments, could be a threat to repeat in Rio but first must get on the team.   Continued...

Gymnast Simone Biles laughs as she poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California March 7, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson