The high praise continues to roll in for U.S. gymnast Simone Biles.
“There is the men’s gymnasts that have this much power, and then there is women’s that have this much, way down here, and she has closed it,” two-time U.S. Olympian Jonathan Horton said in a report from NBC affiliate WTHR in Indianapolis. “She is the first female gymnast I have ever seen that is as powerful or maybe more than the most powerful male gymnast.”
Biles is the two-time reigning World all-around champion who hasn’t lost an all-around competition anywhere in two years.
Horton’s comments echo what 1976 Olympic all-around champion Nadia Comaneci said in April and what 1984 Olympic all-around champion Mary Lou Retton said last August.
“She is as dominant as Michael Jordan was when he was on the top of his game,” USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny said in the report. “She is as dominant as LeBron James. She is as dominant as Tom Brady. She is as dominant as any athlete in any sport, and she’s an 18-year-old kid.”
Biles is set to compete in the Secret U.S. Classic in Hoffman Estates, Ill., on Saturday (7:30-9:30 p.m. ET on Universal Sports) and the P&G Championships in Indianapolis in August.
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With a bronze medal in Lake Placid earlier today, Kendall Wesenberg became the first American to reach the World Cup podium in skeleton in two years.
Wesenberg, who finished 17th at her first Olympics in PyeongChang, had a combined time of 1:51.10 in Lake Placid. Prior to today, her last podium finish at the World Cup was in St. Moritz in January 2017.
“This has never been my strongest track, so we really broke it down piece by piece, and I think it paid off,” Wesenberg said, according to USA Bobsled and Skeleton. “The second run, I kind of tried to throw it away at the top there. By the time I made it to corner 10, I was just thinking ‘build speed, build speed.”
Wesenberg, 28, grew up in California’s Central Valley, but her interest in sliding sports piqued while watching the 2010 Vancouver Games. When the commentators discussed the athletic backgrounds of the athletes, Wesenberg realized she played some of the same sports growing up. A quick Google search brought her to the USA Bobsled and Skeleton page. She told her siblings she was thinking of trying skeleton. They said she’d never do it. Challenge accepted.
Wesenberg emailed a U.S. coach and signed up for a combine and driving training in January 2011. Seven years later, she was sliding on Olympic ice.
Sliding coverage continues today on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, with women’s bobsled live at 3:15 p.m. ET and men’s bobsled live at 4:15.