Simone Biles is the giant to beat in gymnastics

Simone Biles
Simone Biles is the giant to beat in gymnastics
World champion gymnast Biles going pro
World champion gymnast Biles going pro
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Simone Biles visited Indianapolis Monday to promote the upcoming P&G Championships in Indianapolis next month. Watch WTHR for an interview at 5pm!

Women's gymnastics has a new queen. But at just 18 years of age, the title of princess seems more suited for Simone Biles. 

She has a fresh approach in a traditionally serious sport and many hope her reign continues through the Rio Olympics next summer.
   
Biles stands just 4'8". But ironically, she is praised as the giant to beat in gymnastics.
 
"I never seen in my life a more talented, more agile and more potentially capable young lady than Simone," declares former Olympic coach Bela Karolyi.

New: Biles wins the 2015 Secret US Classic
 
Biles is the reigning two-time world all-around champion. She catapulted to back-to-back wins in 2013 and 2014. 
 
"(She) came out of nowhere all of a sudden burst on the scene," said Steve Penny, the President and CEO of USA Gymnastics. "She is as dominant as Michael Jordan was when he was on the top of his game. She is as dominant as LeBron James. She is a dominant as Tom Brady. She is as dominant as any athlete in any sport and she is an 18-year-old kid!"
 
Simone lives the Houston suburb of Spring, Texas. She is training right now in a temporary gym, awaiting completion of a world class gym just miles from her home
 
Biles trains six days a week with Aimee Boorman, her coach since Simone was 7.
 
Boorman has coached many elites, but Biles is potentially her first Olympian. Boorman believes Biles is just getting started.

"She can go as far as she wants to go. I don't think that she has any limitations," Boorman said.

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Simone's raw strength and the difficulty of her skills are closing the gymnastic gender gap. 
 
"There really is a huge gap in power. There is men's gymnasts that have this much power and then there is women's that are much way down and she has closed it. She is the first female gymnast that I have ever seen that is as powerful or maybe more than the most powerful male gymnast," declares Jonathon Horton, two-time Olympian for the men's USA National Team. 
 
Add the big bonus: Biles was born to perform. On floor exercises she pauses to wink and smile before powering out one of the most difficult passes of her routine. Instead of serious and stern faces, the judges see a bubbly personality and a mega watt smile.
 
"She loves the winks, the blowing kisses, the smiles, the waves, those are all genuine. They are not choreographed in there, it's just who she is," Boorman said.
 
Biles loves the crowd. "I like playing with them," Biles says.
 
Bela Karolyi says in 50 years of coaching elite lady gymnasts, Simone is clearly in a class by herself.
 
"I haven't seen that physical potential, the amazing agility that this lady is possessing, I haven't seen in my life." Karolyi said.
 
Penny exalts his admiration further, "There are a lot of people that think that gymnastics is the hardest sport in the world, she is the two-time all around world champion, came out of nowhere all of a sudden burst on the scene and, technically, she is the best athlete on the planet right now."
 
Biles has heard the praise and the predictions.
 
"A couple of the former Olympians said I was the best coming into the year for the 'Road to Rio.' I think that is really cool...to hear that from them because they have been there before so (when) they say it, I'm like, 'Oh my gosh, I guess I have it in me.' You know?"
 
A pile of medals stored away in a family safe certainly should give an indication.

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Biles has won nine world medals in two years (six gold, two silver, one bronze), which is tied for second-most all-time in U.S. history. In 2014, she became the first woman in 40 years to win four gold medals at a single World Championships, capturing team, all-around, balance beam and floor exercise gold. She also won a silver medal on vault. 

In 2013, she won her first World Championships gold medals in the all-around and floor exercise, and also collected silver on vault and bronze on balance beam. Biles' six World gold medals are the most ever by an American woman. She has also captured multiple medals at the U.S. National Championships, winning national titles in the all-around (2013, 2014), vault (2014) and floor exercise (2014) and silver medals on all four events in 2013 and on beam in 2014. 
 
There is no doubt, her success adds pressure.
 
When asked what it's like to see Biles come along, reigning Olympic champion Gabby Douglas indicated the competition was a motivator. "I think it's really great for me to see her because she is definitely going to pull out some of the big skills out of me!"
 
The challenge now, like always, is to avoid injury.
 
"One of my favorite comments is, 'Please wrap her in bubble wrap until Rio'," Boorman laughs.
 
Boorman says Biles has good body awareness. A shoulder injury which kept her sidelined for the first half of last season appears to be in check.
 
Together, Boorman and Biles are perfecting routines.
 
"I believe that right now she has the highest difficulty on beam and floor is tied for the highest difficulty on vault," Boorman said.
 
Looking ahead, Boorman promises no new game plan, just the same steady work and focus that has brought Biles this far.
 
"I am sure there are people out there who are going to continue to challenge her and that could possibly beat her, so we don't ever stop to think, we are just going to sit back and not try to stay on top of the game," Boorman said.
 
Simone also side-steps instead of soaking in the hype that she is a sure thing.
 
"It is like a big honor for all those people to say that, but again, we still have next year and anything can happen you know," Biles said.
 
Right now, Biles and the nation's elite lady gymnasts are north of Chicago right now competing Saturday in the Secret U-S Classic.

After that competition, Biles will be coming to Indianapolis. Fans have two chances to meet the rising star, on Sunday (July 26) at the Kroger on S. Rangeline Road in Carmel and at the Vera Bradley store in the Keystone Fashion Mall on Monday (July 27). Sunday's appearance runs from 4-5 p.m., while Monday's is from noon until 1 p.m.

The first 300 fans in attendance can meet Simone and receive an autograph.

Biles will return to Indianapolis August 13-16 to compete in the 2015 P&G Gymnastics Championships at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
 
Tickets may be purchased through Ticketmaster.com, Ticketmaster charge by phone 1-800-745-3000 or at participating Walmart locations in central Indiana and Bankers Life Fieldhouse Box Office. Tickets are also available at a discounted price through participating local gymnastics clubs.