News, Notes & Quotes from Podium Training!

“I’m strong. I’ll get through it, but it’s hard.” – Simone Biles

Photo by John Cheng


Biles Brings It; Criticizes USA Gymnastics, the USOPTC, FBI

An emotional Simone Biles spoke with the media after podium training on USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and the FBI failing to protect their athletes: “It’s hard to talk about,” Biles said. “It’s really hard to talk about. I just feel like.. I don’t know. I don’t mean to cry. But it’s hard coming here for an organization, having had them fail us so many times. And, we had one goal and we’ve done everything that they’ve asked us for, even when we didn’t want to, and they couldn’t do one damn job…. You had one job. You literally had one job, and you couldn’t protect us… I’m strong. I’ll get through it, but it’s hard.”

Biles was solid and at times, stellar in training, launching a high double double dismount off beam. She has all but captured her sixth all-around crown. But today, she proved once again she is not only a tremendous athlete, but a strong, smart, and confident young woman who is writing her own history off the floor by speaking out and giving a voice to those who don’t, and helping so many future generations of gymnasts and athletes in the process. Which in turn, is the most important thing and will long be remembered well beyond her achievements in any competition.

Following Biles’ comments, Li Li Leung, president and CEO of USA Gymnastics in a written statement to the media said: “Simone Biles is undoubtedly the best gymnast in the world and possibly of all time.  She is an outstanding representative for gymnastics and the United States. We at USA Gymnastics have made a lot of progress in strengthening our athlete safety measures and putting our athletes first, but we know we have more to do. One of our goals is for our athletes to feel comfortable in speaking up and sharing their opinions, and we are listening to what they have to say. We will continue to work hard to demonstrate to Simone and all of our athletes, members, community and fans that we are working to foster a safe, positive and encouraging environment where athlete voices are heard. We join the rest of her fans and the sport in wishing her the best of success this week at the championships.”

Notes – Skills to Watch: 

Sam Mikulak’s Liukin

Eddie Penev’s Layout Double Double on floor

Simone Biles’ “The Biles” and her double-double off beam

Colin Van Wicklen’s explosive blocks, even in timers, on vault

Note: Members of the men’s silver medal-winning team at the Pan American Games will not be competing in Kansas City to focus on rest and recovery before resuming training. The USA men’s team included:

Cameron Bock 

Grant Breckenridge 

Brody Malone 

Robert Neff 

Genki Suzuki 



  • Tom Forster on the timing of PanAms and Nationals: “I already told the Pan Am team that I don’t care how they do here; they’re all coming to the World Selection Camp. They can fall on every event, I don’t care because they’re that quality. I wanted to take that pressure off of them. And, they said, ‘Thank you.’” [Laughs]


  • Tom Forster on whether there is a social media policy about the athletes posting skills they are doing, and if the National Team Staff is worried about people watching/copying: … like Simone posting the triple double before Classics. “No, there’s no limit on that.” When asked about the concern of others copying her skills that she is working.  “(Laughs) Yeah. Good luck!”


  • MyKayla Skinner about her decision to return: “Ever since the last Olympics (2016 Rio, Alternate) it’s always been in the back of my mind and kind of having that fire inside of me, especially watching the Final Five compete when we had to sit there and watch. You’re just like, ‘I want to be out there. I want to be a part of that amazing team.’” Skinner went on to say about the 2016 regime versus now: “It totally different. I was so nervous. But it’s much more relaxed and not as stressful. I’m glad Tom is the coordinator.”


  • Kara Eaker on competing in her hometown: “I’m really excited to be here with everyone and be able to show them what I’ve been working for. For a typical Monday I go to school from 7:30 to 12:30 and then I leave, warm up, get ready and start practice at 1:30 and be done at 7. I leave school early, so just to be able to show them that this is what I leave early for. It’s really cool!”


  • Jordan Chiles on her confidence: “I’m just feeling really good, like everything is coming together. Floor went very well… bars felt easier today and beam went very well. I am very happy where I am right now. I think that the transition I had helped me very well. We’ve been doing smart training, pacing ourselves [in between Classic and Championships], so I’m just excited to compete and hopefully make the national team.”


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