Simone Biles – “I never go into a competition trying to win”

02.10.2019 11:04 Uhr

Simone Biles at press conference in Stuttgart on 1st October 2019.
Vivacious, strong-minded and extremely talented, Simone is already considered by many to be the greatest of all time, and is clear favourite for the all-round title here in Stuttgart.

Everyone appreciates applause for a job well done, and gymnasts are duly recognised when competing in a big event such as the world championships.

It’s not something you expect in training sessions however – unless you are Simone Biles.

Here in Stuttgart, days before competition started, she and her teammates were training in a backstage hall. Gymnasts, officials and backroom staff were crowded around the doorway trying to get a glimpse of the superstar.

When she executed her new skill on the floor – a triple-twisting double somersault – applause went round the training hall.

“I never thought it would be in a routine until now,” says the Olympic champion. “I feel like it’s not real, but it is.”

Such is the cachet of the 22-year-old from Texas that tickets for the competition featuring her sold out long ago. In a stroke of commercial genius, the organisers decided to make tickets available for her official training session in the main arena – a sort of dress rehearsal known as podium training.

Biles burst onto the international gymnastics scene as a virtual unknown way back in 2013. Since then she has won all-around gold at every world championships she has competed in, along with several team and apparatus gold medals.

She became a household name after winning the 2016 Olympic all-around title in Rio, stunning the world with her high level of difficulty. Biles epitomised the Olympic motto “higher, faster, stronger:”

But fame is not something she is comfortable with.

“I feel like if I were to label myself as a superstar, it would bring more expectations on me,” she says. “I would feel pressure. At the end of the day I am still a human being before I’m Simone Biles the superstar.”

Biles is capable of medalling in every event if she hits her routines cleanly. Golds are within grasp on all but uneven bars, long considered her weakness – even though she regularly makes finals in that event.

It prompted one journalist to ask how many gold medals she was hoping to win in Stuttgart. Her reply was unassuming.

“I never go into a competition trying to win – I just go into a competition trying to compete like I train.”

Simone Biles starts her competition on Saturday at 8 pm in the Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle, Stuttgart.


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