Miller expects Biles to rule at Tokyo Olympics
Biles is only three Olympic medals shy of overhauling Miller’s seven to become the United States’ most decorated gymnast, something which the 22-year-old is expected to achieve in Tokyo after her stunning performances at the World Championships in Germany last year.Updated: Jan 16, 2020 23:52 IST
Mumbai: Former US gymnast and Olympic legend Shannon Miller says performing consistently at a higher level is what sets Simone Biles apart, and that the American is expected to dominate the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Biles is only three Olympic medals shy of overhauling Miller’s seven to become the United States’ most decorated gymnast, something which the 22-year-old is expected to achieve in Tokyo after her stunning performances at the World Championships in Germany last year.
Miller, who is in the city as brand ambassador of the Mumbai Marathon, hopes for a lot of medals from Biles in Tokyo. “It is the difficulty—she has such an incredible difficulty and her team, they start at such a higher level than everyone else,” Miller told the media during an interaction.
“Not only (does) she start from a difficulty and a higher score, she is (also) able to perform them at such consistent rate. It bodes well for her, for a lot of medals this year (at Tokyo Olympics),” said Miller.
Dipa Karmakar inspires
Miller said that Indian gymnast Dipa Karmakar, whose attempt at the Produnova vault made the world sit up and take notice at the 2016 Rio Olympics, had inspired many young Indians.
“I think what Dipa has done has really showed the other athletes of India to the world that they are on the stage. That opens up the young generation of athletes all over India; to know that it is possible with hard work and passion to go to the height of your career in the Olympic Games,” said Miller.
However, Miller said it was up to the athletes and coaches to decide if they want to perfect the technique of the Produnova vault, often called the “vault of death” due to the risk of injuries involved. “It depends on what skills you are talking about… it is important in any sport to take as much precaution as you can to be as safe as possible. Safety always has to come first. I would not make any recommendations, it is really up to them—the athlete and the coach. Every athlete is different,” she said.
The Olympic legend, on her maiden trip to India, said gymnastics, like any other sport, had come a long way in terms of safety. “Gymnastics has come so far…with the equipment that I started on as a young one, with no spring and still trying to be as safe as possible,” she said.
Miller added that, “They (manufacturers) have really focused on safety with the equipment—you have springs everywhere, there is more padding and you would have noticed the thickness of the mat…and then the technical aspect, such as conditioning and stretching that goes into ultimate safety. All of this is helping. No sport is ever going to be completely safe, but you want it to be as safe as possible.”