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.”
OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!Follow @nzaccardi