Olympic champion Simone Biles returns to gym with new coach

Olympic champion Simone Biles returns to gym with new coach
FILE - In this Aug. 7, 2016, file phot,o, United States' Simone Biles performs on the floor during the artistic gymnastics women's qualification at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)

By Will Graves, Associated Press

Olympic gymnastics champion Simone Biles is ready to get serious about her comeback.

Biles, who won four gold medals and five total during the 2016 Summer Olympics, has hired Laurent Landi as her coach as she plans a return to competition.

Landi served as the personal coach for two-time Olympic medalist Madison Kocian, a teammate of Biles' on the "Final Five" team that dominated in Rio de Janeiro. Landi replaces Aimee Boorman, Biles' longtime coach who moved to Florida shortly after returning from Brazil.

Landi will work out of the World Champions Centre, the massive gym built by Biles' parents north of Houston. Biles pointed to her familiarity with Landi as one of the deciding factors.

"It'll definitely be a different atmosphere," Biles told The Associated Press on Monday. "It'll be a different style. I think sometimes you need a change to help progress as an athlete."

The 20-year-old took a well-deserved sabbatical following her triumphant two weeks in Brazil, where her four golds tied and Olympic record for the most won by a female gymnast in a single Games. She competed on "Dancing With The Stars," released an autobiography and crisscrossed the country while serving as a spokeswoman for everything from mattresses to athletic apparel.

Biles began tinkering around in the gym in August, though she said at the time she was taking it slowly and wanted to see how her body responded before deciding whether she was mentally and physically prepared for the arduous task of training to compete at the elite level.

She discovered she's more than ready.

"The window to do this is really short and I feel that right now, I feel like I've got a couple more years in me, and that's why I'm going to decide to keep going," Biles said.

There is no timetable for when she may be ready to compete. Biles and Landi will work on a blueprint that will sketch out the next few months. Barring any setbacks, she could be ready to compete in some capacity by the middle of next summer.

"We're just going to take it a week at a time and we'll get off the drawing board," she said. "Once we get a better idea of that, we'll be OK."

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