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Olympian Simone Biles is the ‘Wayne Gretzky of gymnastics’

Olympian Simone Biles is the ‘Wayne Gretzky of gymnastics’

Posted by PanamericanWorld on August 10, 2016

The 19-year-old American led her team to a gold medal Tuesday night in the women’s team gymnastics final at the Rio Olympic Arena, making sure what most people thought was a foregone conclusion came to fruition with a series of spectacular performances.

With a crowd of nearly 12,000 buzzing every time she stepped up to compete, Biles recorded the highest scores in three of four disciplines as the Americans left all their competition in the dust.

The three-time reigning world all-around champion and four-time U.S. champ was already being called the greatest women’s gymnast of all time, a description does not give true credence without Olympic gold medals.

Now she has one, and with the all-around, balance beam, floor, vault and uneven bars finals still to come, she could leave Rio with a fistful.

“She’s definitely worth the hype,” Canadian coach Lorie Henderson says. “She’s the Michael Phelps and Wayne Gretzky of gymnastics to be honest with you.

Everything is right. She’s springy, she’s strong, she’s powerful, she’s flexible, she’s charismatic. She’s just that kind of person.”

The American team of Biles, Gabby Douglas, Lauren Hernandez, Madison Kocian and Aly Raisman combined for 184.897 points, beating the silver medallist Russians by more than eight. The Russians beat out the third-place Chinese by just 0.685 points.

This was a coronation and Biles is clearly the reigning monarch.

There was no doubt the Americans would win Tuesday and it would be a huge shock if Biles isn’t standing on top of the podium Thursday night after the all-around final.

She scored top marks in the vault and the beam, and put up an average score in the uneven bars before wowing the crowd with a dazzling floor routine to finish off the night.

In fitting fashion, she was the last gymnast of the evening to perform, her score of 15.800 clinching the gold to the roars of a crowd that was made up of mostly Brazilian and American supporters.

Her combination of raw power and grace are something to behold. Her run-up on the vault evokes images of some of the world’s greatest sprinters, her jumps and flips are daring and precise, her poise on the beam and floor perhaps unseen since the likes of Nadia Comaneci at the 1976 Games in Montreal.

Even her competitors are in awe.

“What she does is just incredible and props to her,” says Great Britain’s Rebecca Downie. “Her body and power are just an amazing combination. There are so many things she can do and it’s just incredible to watch.”

Given all she has accomplished, it’s hard to remember Biles is still a teenager and these are her first Olympics.

Standing at 4-foot-8 in front of a crush of reporters, she sounded and looked her age more than at any point during competition.

“This morning we were like, ‘Wow, it’s finally here and everything is going to come so fast,’” she started. “We were like, ‘Wow, we get to go compete team finals tonight.’ The moment we woke up we were just so happy and so excited and we were like, ‘We feel very good today.’”

Raisman and Douglas were already Olympic gold medallists. Douglas won the individual all-around in London, and Raisman and Douglas were champions in the team event.

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