Simone Biles

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Simone Biles announces new coach

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When Simone Biles begins her comeback in earnest next month, she’ll be training under a new coach — Laurent Landi — who coached one of her Olympic teammates, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Landi, a 39-year-old former French gymnast, guided Rio uneven bars silver medalist Madison Kocian at the Dallas-area gym WOGA, along with wife Cecile.

“[Landi] was in Dallas, which is not far away, and had recently left WOGA, and I had worked with alongside him and know how he is with athletes,” Biles said, according to the newspaper. “He does a good job not letting pressure get to the athletes. You can see some coaches get stressed but he doesn’t.”

Biles’ previous coach since she was 7, Aimee Boorman, left their Houston-area gym for a gymnastics job in Florida after the Rio Games.

Biles said last week she plans to return to full-time training Nov. 1 and return to competition next summer.

Kocian is now at UCLA and uncertain to return to elite gymnastics.

Two other Final Five members — Aly Raisman and Laurie Hernandez — have said they plan to return to training for a Tokyo 2020 run. But neither has announced a return to the gym like Biles.

The last member — 2012 Olympic all-around champion Gabby Douglas — has not said whether she will come back.

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Simone Biles details comeback, new campaign

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Simone Biles has a new coach, will return to full-time gymnastics training on Nov. 1 and plans to compete in 2018.

“Probably Classics [a pre-nationals tune-up in July], but not doing all events, probably two [of four apparatuses]” Biles said in a phone interview Thursday. “I would still be training all four events at Classics, but only competing two, just to get back into that competition mode. Then the goal is P&Gs [Championships in August] to compete all [events], obviously, and then continue from there.”

Biles’ other announcement Thursday was her partnership with the #BeUnderstood campaign for Learning Disabilities and ADHD Awareness Month in October.

She recently spoke with two sisters (video here) who have ADHD about her own experience with ADHD since age 9.

Biles’ globetrotting will stop in November as she focus on training, but she will still be spreading this message.

“I think I’ll be speaking a little bit more about it, just because a lot of kids have it,” she said. “I think that they think of it as a disability, and I want them to learn that it’s not. … I told [the sisters] to think of it more as a super power. It’s OK to be different because many smart and talented people have it, and they still succeed in life to the fullest.”

Biles hasn’t competed since winning four gold medals in Rio but announced in August that she was doing light work in the gym. Her longtime coach, Aimee Boorman, moved from Texas to Florida. Biles will announce her coach later this month.

She laughed when asked Thursday if she will feel pain or soreness ramping up to regular training.

“It’s going to be rough,” she said. “But the muscle memory is there because I’ve come and I’ve played in the gym. All of my skills are basically still there. There are a couple of skills, like on [balance] beam, that I haven’t done yet, like a dismount, because why would I just chuck that? There’s no way. And I haven’t vaulted since the Olympics.”

But she has done every single one of her floor exercise passes, including her signature move, the Biles, on soft landing surfaces. And most of her skills on beam and uneven bars.

“But that’s going in and playing,” Biles said. “So, really tinkering down and being serious about it, mentality will have to change, but I’m excited.”

Biles will “probably” participate in a U.S. national team camp in January.

“Just to get back in the swing of things, even though I won’t be testing like other girls,” she said. “At least I’ll be back in the rhythm to just go in there and do whatever I need to do. And be with the national team coaches so they can get me up to date on all the new rules and everything.”

Biles does not want to rush a comeback for early 2018 competitions like the AT&T American Cup in March or the Jesolo Trophy in April.

Still, her plan to compete fewer than two years after the Olympics is a quicker return than previous U.S. stars.

Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman both went 2 1/2 years after the London Olympics before their competitive returns.

Nastia Liukin, the 2008 Olympic all-around champion, went nearly three years between competitions for her 2012 comeback. Shawn Johnson, the Beijing Games balance beam champion, returned in 2011.

Biles would return to the P&G Championships to face a field that includes a new U.S. champion — Olympic alternate Ragan Smith — and a new world all-around champion — 16-year-old Morgan Hurd.

Biles was not able to watch much of last week’s world championships live. She was traveling on the West Coast. But she received updates.

There are similarities between Biles and Hurd, both gymnasts to rise up in the post-Olympic year to claim the world crown. Biles did so in 2013, wearing braces, as Hurd did in Montreal last week.

“[Hurd] is still fairly young, and she handled the pressure because she’s never been on a stage like that,” Biles said.

Raisman and Rio beam silver medalist Laurie Hernandez both said they would return to training for a Tokyo 2020 run, too. But it’s unknown when they’ll be back in the gym.

For Biles, this timeline was always the goal.

“I never said, oh, take a year and then we’ll see, or maybe I need two years,” she said. “It was always just, I’m going to take one year, rest the body, physically, mentally from gymnastics and then get back into it.”

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VIDEO: Simone Biles explains returning to the gym

Morgan Hurd adds silver medal to resume at World Gymnastics Championships

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Surprise women’s all-around world champion Morgan Hurd heard congratulations from many admirers since accepting her gold medal. But a tweet from J. K. Rowling – author of the bespectacled boy wizard series Harry Potter – surprised her the most.

Rowling called her a “real life hero in glasses.”

On Sunday, she added another medal to her Montreal haul; she captured a silver on beam despite being penalized a tenth of a point for a time violation. Regardless, it would not have been enough to overtake German gold medalist Pauline Schaefer’s score. Her gold medal was the first gymnastics world title for Germany since 1981. Her countrywoman Tabea Alt earned the bronze.

The three women from the Rio podium – the Netherlands’ Sanne Wevers, Laurie Hernandez, and Simone Biles – were not in the field.

Mai Murakami finished fourth in the beam final and the all-around final. She finally broke through in Montreal winning floor gold on Sunday. Previously, Japan’s only women’s floor world medal was a bronze, earned back in 1954.

The U.S.’ Jade Carey earned her second world silver medal in as many days behind Murakami, separated by 0.033 points. Carey, whose father is her coach, performed the best routine 2008 Olympic all-around gold medalist and commentator Nastia Liukin had ever seen from her to earn the medal. Great Britain’s Claudia Fragapane was third.

Ragan Smith had also qualified into the floor final, but her right ankle ligament injury sustained just before the all-around final took her out of apparatus finals as well. Benefiting from Smith’s withdrawal was Canada’s home favorite, and all-around silver medalist, Ellie Black. She couldn’t capitalize on it – Black was eighth in the vault final and seventh in floor finals on Sunday.

Italy’s Vanessa Ferrari, the 2006 all-around champion, crashed and grabbed her ankle at the end of her second floor pass. She did not complete her routine after being carried off the floor by medical staff.

Similarly, the Rio floor medalists – Biles, Aly Raisman, and Amy Tinkler – were not in the field.

On the men’s side, Japan’s Kenzo Shirai brought his medal tally to two golds and a bronze, after winning the fault final over Ukraine’s Igor Radivilov by 0.001.

“In my book, that’s basically a tie,” Liukin commented on the broadcast.

Hansol Kim of South Korea earned the bronze medal.

Shirai took home the vault bronze from Rio, though the gold and silver medalists from the Olympics were not in the field in Montreal.

Rio parallel bars gold medalist Oleg Verniaiev of Ukraine answered Zou Jingyuan’s score of 15.900 with a “money” routine of his own.

“That is the most perfect I have ever seen Oleg look, right there,” gold medalist and commentator Tim Daggett said after Verniaiev’s routine. But it wasn’t enough. Verniaiev earned the silver behind China’s Zou by 0.67 points.

David Belyavskiy, who earlier this week won all-around silver, captured the bronze with a score of 15.266 points.

Croatia’s Tin Srbic captured high bar gold on Sunday with a score of 14.433 points. Srbic’s clean routine was rewarded after an apparatus finals filled with several falls from athletes with more difficulty in their routines. Croatia had never before won a high bar gold at worlds; their previous best finish was a bronze from 2014.

The Netherlands’ Epke Zonderland won high bar gold at the London 2012 Olympics, but a disastrous fall in Rio landed him in seventh place. In Montreal, he nearly repeated the mistake on the same skill, but held on with one hand to avoid the fall. His score of 14.233 earned him the silver, while countryman Bart Deurloo earned the bronze.

MORE: Saturday’s apparatus finals sees 2 more U.S. medals