The United States shields Biles

After two days of emergencies and cold sweats, the United States breathes with relative relief: Simone Biles, the icing on its cake and one of the great attractions of these Tokyo Olympics, is safe, or at least far from the potential focus of infection that his partner Lara Eaker supposed. The latter, one of the two substitutes for the American gymnastics team, tested positive in one of the tests that the 11,000 athletes who will compete in the event undergo daily and was immediately isolated, not without the red light turning on. Not without panic spreading through the American ranks. The escape maneuver, then, was sudden. Goodbye to the Olympic Village.

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Losing Biles would mean losing the great symbol, hence the federation officials (USA Gymnastics) and the technicians of the five gymnasts – the second substitute, Leanne Wong, was also removed by “direct contact” – decided on the run and without regard. ; in fact, in the exact direction they intended to take before landing in Tokyo, understanding that the Villa was a dangerous space despite extreme measures and minimal interaction between athletes. The drip of contagions grows and on Tuesday at noon the snitch went off after the analyzes carried out in the Narita training field, 50 kilometers from the capital, where Biles and his team polish the exercises and another historical approach of the Atomic Ant.

Will Biles, 24, be able to surpass herself and go beyond the four golds obtained in Rio five years ago?

“My mom has always motivated me to become the best Simone I can be, and now I appreciate what that means. If I have decided to be in Tokyo it is because I want to challenge myself and inspire other people ”, explains the American in a docuseries (Biles & Herself) in which he offers traces of how he has prepared these last Games and in which he dives through the most important episodes of his career, from the most rugged – a very complicated childhood and the abuse of coach Larry Nassar – to his meteoric rise towards the Sports Olympus.

“Despite what many people may imagine, my career has been full of ups and downs. In a certain way, I have the feeling that it has consisted of showing others what I am capable of, ”she says while her team shields her against the happy virus and those responsible assure that there are no risks, since holders and alternates exercised independently and were housed separately. “It is a decision that we all make together”, transmitted his coach, Cecile Landi; “We know that it is not ideal for the Olympic experience, but nothing is ideal during a pandemic. We believe that we can better control our gymnasts and our safety in a hotel ”.

Before the analytics detected Eaker’s positive, Biles herself was pictured smiling in the access area to the Olympic Village, in front of a wooden logo with the five Olympic rings. “When someone competes in search of perfection, it encourages others to understand that it is possible,” says the American, who after her splendid time in Rio –in addition to the four golds, she hung a bronze on the balance beam– took 15 months of pause to process the success, and that with the pandemic disappeared from action for a year and a half.

Then, in May, he returned to Indianapolis in the form of lightning, with a Yurchenko (double deadly carp) that until then had never been executed by a woman in international competitions. “I don’t pretend to be the new Usain Bolt, or the new Michael Phelps or the new Michael Jordan. I am simply the first Biles, and that is my greatest satisfaction ”, she said in 2016. And now, in Tokyo, she is refocusing the route to infinity. Because, despite already appearing on the legendary roster of the Games, the American will compete in Tokyo with a triple incentive ahead.

The records of Miller, Heida and Latynina

First, the American will try to equal the record of her compatriot Shannon Miller, who is the most decorated gymnast in her country at the Olympic Games. Miller, 44, won seven medals: five at the Barcelona Games (three bronze and two silver) and two more, gold, four years later in Atlanta. However, in the global calculation it is behind Biles, since the latter collects 25 metals in the World Cups (19 of them gold), in addition to the five obtained in Rio 2016, and she hung 16 between 1991 and 1996.

On the other hand, Biles has the opportunity to reach a much more distant record in the near future. Czech Anton Heida, who has adopted American nationality, is the only gymnast in the country to hold five Olympic golds. He obtained them at the San Luis Games in 1904.

In the case of reaching that figure in the Japanese event – which she already achieved in the Stuttgart World Cup two years ago – the North American would accumulate nine Olympic golds in total, which would equate her with the most awarded woman, Larisa Latýnina. The Ukrainian, who competed under the USSR flag at the Melbourne 1956, Rome 1960 and Tokyo 1964 Games, retired in 1966 (at age 31) with 18 medals. Now, Biles – born in 1997 in Columbus, Ohio – continues to hunt for more records after discovering gymnastics at age six and taking flight in 2013, Antwerp, the mark of her first two golds.

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