SPRING, Texas – Simone Biles is amazing, phenomenal, and simply the best gymnast of all time.
She is hard at work: training and focused to add to her medal count 50 days from now in Tokyo Olympics. But from her gym in Spring, Biles is not the only gymnast with eyes on Japan.
One of them is 16-year-old Amari Drayton, who has been living in Spring and training at Simone’s World Champions Centre for the past two years.
She has had a stellar career in gymnastics’ junior division. In her quest for Tokyo, she is taking it one competition at a time.
“With my mind, I just need to like to calm down,” she said. “Think about everything that’s happening, and just stay to myself kind of.”
But wait, there’s one more.
20-year-old Jordan Chiles has been excelling in the world of gymnastics for the past eight years. Last month when Biles won the U.S. Classic and wowed the world with a vault no woman had ever performed in competition -- Chiles came in second.
Just one step away from the U.S. Olympic trials Chiles says the key for her also is the focus.
“The things that have to fall in place basically is me just staying consistent,” she said.
But what’s it like to day-in and day-out see the consistency of the greatest of all time? To train beside Biles?
“Having her in the gym, I mean. It’s cool,” Chiles said. “I sometimes am like, ‘Oh my goodness. Like, how do you do this? It’s crazy.’ But at the same time, I’m like, ‘Oh wait. I can do the same thing if I really put my mind to it.’ And yeah. She’s like a sister to me.”
Three Olympic gymnasts from the same gym are rare and possibly unprecedented.
For that to happen for Biles and the other two young ladies is a top-eight finish at the U.S. Championships taking place in Fort Worth starting Friday. Those top eight, plus eight more young ladies, will then be invited to the Olympic Trials.
In the end, four girls will be picked to represent the U.S. in Tokyo.