Simone Biles: I’m better than I was in Rio

Simone Biles
AP
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Warning to the world’s best gymnasts.

It’s still more than three months before Simone Biles‘ comeback meet, but she already feels like a better gymnast than at her last meet — the Rio Olympics, where she earned four gold medals.

“Once it comes time to put it all together in competition, that will be the real test,” Biles said recently, according to the Houston Chronicle. “But as I’ve been training, I guess I would say I am better than I was in Rio.”

The 21-year-old Biles has been training since Nov. 1 under new coaches Laurent Landi and Cecile Canqueteau-Landi at her Texas gym.

She has said she plans to compete for the first time in nearly two years at the U.S. Classic on July 28 in Columbus, Ohio, ahead of the U.S. Championships in August in Boston and, she hopes, the world championships in Doha in October and November.

She also reportedly said she expects the 2020 Olympics to be her final gymnastics meet.

“A lot of the times when I come into the gym I shock myself, especially how I’m still improving, especially from Rio, even there,” Biles said, according to the newspaper. “It’s kind of crazy.

“I would rather risk [a comeback] now than, 20 years from now, being like, ‘I wish I would have tried again. I wonder what would have happened.’ Twenty years from now, I can now say, ‘well, at least I tried.’”

Biles could try to become the first woman to repeat as Olympic all-around champion since Věra Čáslavská in 1968 and the oldest champ since the Czech great.

Biles is expected to be the only Final Five member to compete on the elite level this year.

Laurie Hernandez said in October that she hoped to return to competition in 2018, but her agent said last month the plan is now 2019.

Aly Raisman originally planned to take one year off after Rio. She since delayed a return to training as she devotes time to something much more important — fighting sexual abuse in the sport.

Gabby Douglas has not said if or when she will return to training. Madison Kocian also may be finished with elite gymnastics but is competing collegiately for UCLA.

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VIDEO: Simone Biles explains returning to the gym

12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

Chloe Covell
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At the world skateboarding championships, 12-year-olds Chloe Covell from Australia and Onodera Ginwoo from Japan earned silver and bronze medals, respectively, in Sunday’s street finals.

In the women’s event, Covell took silver behind Brazilian 15-year-old Rayssa Leal, who was a silver medalist herself at the Tokyo Games.

Frenchman Aurélien Giraud, a 25-year-old who was sixth in skateboarding’s Olympic debut in Tokyo, won the men’s final in the United Arab Emirates. Ginwoo was third behind Portugal’s Gustavo Ribeiro.

The top Americans were Olympic men’s bronze medalist Jagger Eaton in sixth and 15-year-old Paige Heyn in seventh in the women’s event.

Nyjah Huston, a six-time world champion who placed seventh in Tokyo, missed worlds after August surgery for an ACL tear.

Up to three men and three women per nation can qualify per event (street and park) for the 2024 Paris Games. World rankings come June 2024 determine which Americans qualify.

In Tokyo, four of the 12 skateboarding medalists were ages 12 or 13.

Japan’s Kokona Hiraki, then 12, won silver in women’s park to become the youngest Olympic medalist since 1936, according to Olympedia.org. Japan’s Momiji Nishiya, then 13, won women’s street and became the youngest gold medalist in an individual event since 1936.

Worlds conclude this week with the men’s and women’s park events. The finals are Saturday.

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Francesco Friedrich, most decorated bobsledder in history, rebounds for 12th world title

Francesco Friedrich
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A week after his first major championships defeat in seven years, German Francesco Friedrich returned to his winning ways to close the world bobsled championships on Sunday.

Friedrich’s four-man sled won the world title by 69 hundredths of a second over British and Latvian sleds that tied for silver, combining times from four runs over the last two days in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It marked Great Britain’s first world championships men’s bobsled medal since 1966.

Geoff Gadbois drove the lone U.S. sled in the field, finishing 18th.

Friedrich, the most decorated bobsledder in history, extended his records with a fifth consecutive world four-man title and 12th world championship between two- and four-man events.

Germany swept all four titles at bobsled worlds with four different drivers taking gold.

Friedrich had won 12 consecutive Olympic or world titles before taking two-man silver at worlds last week in St. Moritz, Switzerland. He was dethroned in that event by countryman Johannes Lochner.

Friedrich has been hampered recently by a muscle injury from sprint training in late December. Going into worlds, Lochner had won four consecutive World Cup two-man races, while Hall won the last two World Cups in four-man.

Friedrich, 32, said before this season that he plans to make the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games his final competition. Friedrich and push athlete Thorsten Margis can break the record of four career Olympic bobsled gold medals that they currently share with retired Germans Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske.

The World Cup season concludes with stops in Igls, Austria, and Sigulda, Latvia, the next two weekends.

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