•   
  •   
  •   

Sport Can college save the gymnastics star?

09:21  04 august  2021
09:21  04 august  2021 Source:   sports.yahoo.com

Olympics schedule 2021: Day-by-day TV coverage to watch Tokyo Games on NBC channels, stream online

  Olympics schedule 2021: Day-by-day TV coverage to watch Tokyo Games on NBC channels, stream online Here's what's happening at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics today as well as a TV schedule to watch every event in the United States and Canada.During the 2016 Rio Olympics, the United States broadcast 6,755 hours of Olympic action. Canada itself produced over 2,000 hours. Each country could set new Summer Games-highs in 2021.

TOKYO — Simone Biles said she wouldn’t do anything different. She was fine until she wasn’t fine. She had control over everything until everything had control over her. Her bout with the so-called “twisties” can come at any time for any reason.

“People said it was stress related, but I honestly could not tell you,” Biles said.

No one can tell. That’s the problem. And that’s why it isn’t easy to figure out how to avoid such a thing in the future — the best and strongest gymnast in the world completing just two of her expected 12 performances here.

There is a reason, however, that what Biles attempted — dominating two Olympics — is unheard of in this sport. No all-around gold or even silver medalist has returned to repeat in that event since 1980, when the sport was vastly different.

Olympics medal count 2021: Updated table of gold, silver, bronze medals for every country

  Olympics medal count 2021: Updated table of gold, silver, bronze medals for every country Keep track of the 2021 Olympic medal count with Sporting News' updated table, including gold, silver and bronze tallies for every country at the Tokyo Games.After the coronavirus forced the Tokyo Games to be pushed back a year, athletes from across the world are now in Japan representing their respective nations, hoping to bring gold medals home. And though spectators won't be allowed at any of the venues to take in the sights in-person, fans of the Olympics will no doubt be tuning in to watch this year's Games unfold.

And while a diagnosis is impossible, it is fair to say Biles looked exhausted here, burnt out and uncertain, even through less than ideal practice sessions and qualifying. And it’s further fair to at least wonder if the grind of a decade in junior and then senior elite international training and competition — a relentless pursuit of improvement — just drained her.

It is why those in the sport are encouraged that the next generation of Americans don’t appear to be attempting Biles’ path of staying in the cutthroat world of international gymnastics.

With the NCAA finally allowing athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness, the sport’s young stars no longer have to choose between millions in endorsements and college eligibility.

USA Olympic gymnastics schedule: How to watch 2021 women's, men's individual & team events

  USA Olympic gymnastics schedule: How to watch 2021 women's, men's individual & team events Team USA should be competitive in gymnastics and are the gold medal favorites on the women's side thanks to Simone Biles. Here's how to watch all of the U.S. gymnastics events during the Olympics. The most notable of the bunch is the women's team final, which will occur on July 27 and will be broadcast live on Peacock. Here's a look at the full list of live events. Date Event Time (ET) Channel Saturday, July 24 Men's Qualifying 6 a.m. - 11 a.m. Peacock Sunday, July 25 Women's Qualifying 6 a.m. - 11 a.m. Peacock Monday, July 26 Men's Team Final 6 a.m. - 11 a.m. Peacock Tuesday, July 27 Women's Team Final 6 a.m.

It has opened a floodgates: Sunisa Lee (Auburn), Jordan Chiles (UCLA), Jade Carey (Oregon State) and Grace McCallum (Utah) are all choosing the less intense, more well-rounded life of a college gymnast that wasn’t available to Biles.

“I think honestly it will make me a lot happier just competing for a team,” said Lee, the all-around Olympic champion who says she wants to compete at the 2024 Paris Games. “Not individually like this, [which] is scary. I want to have some fun in college. Elite gymnastics has just been so mentally draining and exhausting.”

Can college save the gymnastic star?

College not an option for Simone Biles

In August of 2014, Valorie Kondos Field, or “Miss Val” as the legendary former UCLA gymnastics coach is known throughout the sport, got a phone call from a then 17-year-old high school kid in Houston.

“Simone Biles,” the caller ID read.

Biles was the reigning, dominating, all-around world champion and thus the most coveted college gymnastics recruit ... ever. And she had good news for Miss Val.

USA Olympics schedule today: Day-by-day TV coverage to watch Team USA at 2021 Tokyo Games

  USA Olympics schedule today: Day-by-day TV coverage to watch Team USA at 2021 Tokyo Games Sporting News has you covered on how to watch every Team USA competition, including start times and TV channels for every sport, every day of the Tokyo Olympics.Almost.

“I want to sign with UCLA.”

Kondos Field soon excitedly declared to her husband: “‘We just got the ‘G.O.A.T.’ We just got the greatest recruit of all time.’ We knew even then that she was the best of all time.”

Not that Kondos Field ever expected to ever coach her. Within a year, Biles would turn pro to cash in on millions in endorsement and business opportunities while continuing to concentrate on elite international gymnastics.

“We knew she was going to go pro,” Field said. “There was no way. There was just no way she couldn’t …

“It certainly would have been great,” she said with a laugh.

The story has been a crowd pleaser for Kondos Field when she's retold it through the years — how the greatest recruit ever got away.


Video: Pediatric patients use robot to 'run the bases' at Dodgers Stadium (ABC 7 Los Angeles)

No one felt too bad for her, of course. Kondos Field won seven NCAA titles at UCLA before retiring in 2019. And she even credits the excitement over Biles' commitment for helping draw in some of the recruits who would win the 2018 national championship with the Bruins.

Simone Biles: 'I didn't quit ... my mind & body are simply not in sync'

  Simone Biles: 'I didn't quit ... my mind & body are simply not in sync' Simone Biles is continuing to train in an effort to improve her concentration so she can properly, and safely, complete her high-flying routines in these Olympics. Biles can still compete in any or all of them. At the same time, she is clapping back at critics — most of whom have little to no knowledge of elite gymnastics or gymnastics scoring — that she “quit” on her USA Gymnastics teammates when she withdrew from the team competition after one awkward, low-scoring and nearly disastrous vault attempt. “For anyone saying I quit, I didn’t quit,” Biles wrote in an Instagram story Friday.

After the past two weeks however, you can wonder if it wasn’t just Kondos Field and UCLA who lost out when Simone Biles went pro.

Maybe Biles did, too.

Shawn Johnson, Nastia Liukin, Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Jordyn Wieber, Gabby Douglas posing for the camera © Provided by Yahoo! Sports

College gymnastics is a subtly different sport from elite international gymnastics. First off, it’s mostly team-focused, not some lonely pursuit of improvement and perfection. Second, the scoring rewards the quality of execution, not the difficulty of the routine, which eliminates the pressure to add, with painstaking work, additional moves.

“I look at college gymnastics as a respite,” Kondos Field said.

Lee says she will be enrolled at Auburn in two weeks, and is excited to get away from the Olympic intensity for a bit, live in a dorm, and experience life. She isn’t giving up on anything. Her college coach, Jeff Graba, is the twin brother of her individual coach. The goal is to take a dual-track preparation — enjoy college sports while maintaining enough elite skills to jump back in when needed.

Gymnasts don’t have long careers, and while that’s often physical, it can also be mental and emotional. This isn’t football or basketball where you can compete into your 30s or even 40s. There is no understating the workload and sacrifice.

Everything builds to just four or five meets a year, with the culmination a single week every fourth turn of the calendar. Top American prospects train seven, eight hours a day, requiring them to be homeschooled as preteens. Practices are physically punishing, including almost impossible-to-maintain body weights and fitness levels. In Biles’ case, for part of her career she was a victim of USA Gymnastics and doctor Larry Nassar.

Is Simone Biles out of the Olympics? Latest updates on USA gymnastics star's status after withdrawal

  Is Simone Biles out of the Olympics? Latest updates on USA gymnastics star's status after withdrawal Simone Biles' status moving forward is in doubt after exiting Team USA's silver medal finish in the team competition at the 2021 Olympics.Biles withdrew after participating in just one event during the women's gymnastics team final on Tuesday. Her early exit has left gymnastics fans wondering if the greatest gymnast of all time will be returning to the floor during the Tokyo Games.

And the competition doesn’t take days off.

“We were basically in a closed training camp for a year and a half,” Russian gymnast Angelina Melnikova, who won a gold and two bronze medals here, said of her team’s Olympic prep. “[We were] working very hard without seeing our families or having a normal life.”

Was it worth it?

“Of course,” Melnikova said. “It was for the best because we were focused on the practice.”

They used to say that about the Karolyi camp and those lasted only a week or a month.

This is what it means to compete at that level. Can anyone maintain it?

College gymnastics is more about the team, and less about the pursuit of individual glory. (Allison Zaucha for The Washington Post via Getty Images) © Provided by Yahoo! Sports College gymnastics is more about the team, and less about the pursuit of individual glory. (Allison Zaucha for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

'It's about joy'

MyKayla Skinner couldn’t. After years of work, she was an alternate on the 2016 Olympic Team. She said she was spent and thought her elite career was over. She decided, however, to get her education and compete at the University of Utah.

“For me I kind of started to hate gymnastics,” Skinner said. “We had [demanding former national team coordinator] Marta Karolyi, so times were very, very different. So college definitely helped me regain that love for the sport.”

Next thing you know, she was back.

“That’s what pushed me to go for that comeback,” said Skinner, 24, after winning a silver medal in vault. “‘I was so close last time, I want to go one more time.’ And here I am.”

Kondos Field has no idea what would have happened if Biles went to UCLA from 2016-2019, other than, “she would have won a lot of national championships.” The time spent on fundamentals, fun and the flair of the performance though, might have helped.

How old is Simone Biles? Why elite Olympic gymnasts typically retire at a young age

  How old is Simone Biles? Why elite Olympic gymnasts typically retire at a young age Simone Biles' 2021 Olympics come to an end Tuesday afternoon, and her decorated career atop the sport of gymnastics may be over with it.Biles hasn't confirmed that she's done yet. But per the New York Times, it seems likely that Biles will retire after Tokyo, though she could attempt to qualify in one event at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

In competitive terms, it couldn’t have gone much worse. Biles left here with a bronze on beam and a silver in a team competition she had to withdraw from after one vault.

“You can do it unlike the Karolyis and still win,” Kondos Field said. “Yes [the US] won [in 2016], but there is a different way, a better way. I don’t think the word fun is the [word to describe college gymnastics]. I think it’s about finding joy in the sport. The nay-sayers say it’s about fun, but no no, it’s not about fun. It’s about joy. Joy comes from the pride of doing a job well.”

If nothing else, Kondos Field is happy that Lee is focused on Auburn, not, say, locking herself in a gym to add one more technical element to each rotation before next year’s world championship.

“I think Suni Lee will do great even if she is doing about half the level of difficulty,” Kondos Field said.

Can college provide the break while also providing a bridge to future games? We’ll see, but if Simone Biles, the great Simone Biles, couldn’t make the old way work, then a new way may be long overdue.

More from Yahoo Sports:

  • Australian athletes party their way out of Tokyo Games

  • Biles earns bronze medal in rousing Olympic return

  • Durant guides Team USA past red-hot Rubio, Spain

  • Bushnell: Why the U.S. is so bad at handball

USA TODAY High School Sports Awards: Confidence, discipline anchor dynamic Ohio gymnast Paige Yu .
Thanks to a confident, disciplined approach, Ohio's Highland High School phenom Paige Yu has earned a spot among the nation's premiere gymnasts.So it is fitting the dynamo, who recently completed her sophomore year, captured the Ohio High School Athletic Association Gymnastics All-Around crown after finishing second as a freshman.

usr: 0
This is interesting!