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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

IOC group proposes Olympic ‘host’ can be multiple countries

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International Olympic Committee members will decide next month whether to tweak the definition of an Olympic host to make it clear that it does not necessarily refer to a single city but can also mean multiple cities, regions and even countries, IOC President Thomas Bach said Wednesday.

“It’s not an encouragement to spread the Games out as much as possible,” Bach said in announcing the IOC’s executive board approved the measure. “It may be preferable to have a region as a signatory or an additional signatory of the host city contract rather than just a city, and therefore, we wanted to enjoy this flexibility. This, on the other hand, does not change our vision, our request and our focus on having not only an Olympic Village, but to have an Olympic center.”

It’s one of six proposed changes by a working group chaired by Australian IOC member John Coates to examine the bid process. Another is to make the timing of Olympic host city elections more flexible. Typically, hosts are elected seven years before the Games, though two years ago an exception was made in the double awarding of the 2024 and 2028 Games to Paris and Los Angeles.

Bach repeated that the proposals are “to avoid producing too many losers as we had it in the past candidature procedures.”

The IOC previously said in 2014, in announcing Agenda 2020, that it “will allow events held outside the host city or, in exceptional cases, outside the host country, notably for reasons of geography and sustainability.”

This shift manifests in Stockholm’s 2026 Winter Olympic bid plan to have sliding sports in Sigulda, Latvia, home of the nearest existing track for bobsled, luge and skeleton, rather than building a costly new track in Sweden.

IOC members will vote to choose the 2026 Winter Games host next month. The finalists are Stockholm and a joint Italian bid of Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, after five other potential candidates were dropped for various reasons.

There is precedent for events held far from the Olympic host city. In 1956, Melbourne held the Summer Games and had equestrian events in Stockholm due to quarantine laws in Australia. Similarly, equestrian at the 2008 Beijing Games was held in Hong Kong.

Soccer matches are often held in cities across the host country. Recent Winter Olympics have had mountain events in a different city or area than arena events.

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IOC board recommends AIBA suspension, boxing stays in Olympics

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The International Olympic Committee executive board recommended that AIBA has its recognition as boxing’s international federation suspended but that the sport remains on the Olympic program at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

An IOC decision on the recommendation will be made next month. The IOC created a group to organize 2020 Olympic boxing qualifying and competition if AIBA will not be allowed to run it.

“We want to ensure that the athletes can live their dream and participate in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 while drawing the necessary consequences for AIBA,” IOC president Thomas Bach said in a press release. “At the same time, we offer a pathway back to lifting the suspension, but there needs to be further fundamental change.”

The IOC said in October that boxing’s place in the Olympics was “under threat” after being introduced at the 1904 St. Louis Games and held at every Games since except Stockholm 1912.

In November, the IOC ordered an inquiry into AIBA, which has been in financial turmoil, faced claims of fixed bouts at the Rio Games and elected a president linked to organized crime.

That president, Uzbek Gafur Rakhimov, stepped aside in March to let an interim leader take charge but said he was not resigning. Rakhimov is on a U.S. Treasury Department sanctions list for suspected links to an organized crime group in former Soviet Union republics involved in heroin trafficking. He denies any wrongdoing.

“Serious governance issues remain, including breaches of the Olympic Charter and the IOC Code of Ethics regarding good governance and ethics, leading to serious reputational, legal and financial risks for the IOC, the Olympic Movement and its stakeholders,” the inquiry committee concluded. “AIBA has been unable to demonstrate a sustainable and fair management of refereeing and judging processes and decisions, increasing the lack of confidence that athletes can have in fair competitions.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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