Believe it or not, there was a time when Simone Biles wasn’t quite good enough to make a team, let alone win a medal.
In 2011, a 14-year-old Biles finished 14th in the all-around at the U.S. Junior Championships, after which the U.S. women’s junior national team was named.
Thirteen gymnasts made the team, so Biles missed by one spot.
Biles described it as devastation, heartbreaking and a failure in an excerpt from “Courage to Soar,” her autobiography due out Nov. 15.
“Tears were bubbling up inside me, but I refused to let the other girls or the coaches see me cry,” Biles wrote. “That’s how my journey as an elite gymnast began — with a defeat that put an ache in my heart and doubts in my mind.”
Biles finished third in the U.S. junior all-around in 2012 and then won the U.S. senior all-around for the first of four straight times in 2013. It marked the start of a dominating Olympic cycle that ended with four gold medals in Rio.
Biles has said she is taking one year off from gymnastics and detailed her future more here.
Also in the book excerpt, 1984 Olympic all-around champion Mary Lou Retton describes the first time she met Biles, handing her a gold medal at the 2009 Mary Lou Retton Invitational.
MORE: Watch Biles star in Jake Miller music video
Kendall Gretsch, who won Paralympic titles at the last Summer and Winter Games, added another six gold medals at the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Sweden last week.
Gretsch, 30, earned seven total medals in seven days between biathlon and cross-country skiing.
Gretsch won gold medals in three different sports across the last three Paralympics: biathlon and cross-country skiing in 2018 (two years after taking up the sports), triathlon in 2021 and biathlon in 2022.
She plans to shift her focus back to triathlon after this winter for 2024 Paris Games qualification.
Gretsch, born with spina bifida, was the 2014 USA Triathlon Female Para Triathlete of the Year. Though triathlon was added to the Paralympics for the 2016 Rio Games, her classification was not added until Tokyo.
Also at last week’s worlds, six-time Paralympian Aaron Pike earned his first Paralympic or world championships gold medal in his decade-plus career, winning a 12.5km biathlon event.
Oksana Masters, who won seven medals in seven events at last year’s Paralympics to break the career U.S. Winter Paralympics medals record, missed worlds due to hand surgery.
The U.S. also picked up five medals at last week’s World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Spain — three silvers for five-time Paralympian Laurie Stephens and two bronzes for 17-year-old Saylor O’Brien.
Stephens now has 18 career medals from world championships, plus seven at the Paralympics.
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Kyle Smaine, a retired world champion halfpipe skier, died in an avalanche in Japan on Sunday, according to NBC News, citing Smaine’s father. He was 31.
Smaine, a 2015 World champion in ski halfpipe, had been doing ski filming in Japan, sharing videos on his Instagram account over the past week.
The native of South Lake Tahoe, California, finished ninth in ski halfpipe at the 2016 Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado.
In 2018, Smaine won the fifth and final U.S. Olympic qualifying series event in ski halfpipe but did not make the four-man team for PyeongChang. His last sanctioned international competition was in February 2018.
Late Sunday, two-time Olympic champion David Wise won the X Games men’s ski halfpipe and dedicated it to Smaine.
“We all did this for Kyle tonight,” Wise said on the broadcast. “It’s a little bit of an emotional day for us. We lost a friend.”