Olympic gymnastics queen Simone Biles has appointed a new coach as she begins her comeback to the sport after a year-long break, US media reported Tuesday.
Biles, the reigning all-around Olympic champion and 10-time World Championship gold medallist, has hired France’s Laurent Landi as she begins her journey towards the 2020 Tokyo Games.
The 20-year-old superstar took a sabbatical from gymnastics following her performances at the Rio de Janeiro games last year, where she won four gold medals and a bronze.
The change of coach comes after former mentor Aimee Boorman, who worked with Biles for more than a decade, relocated to Florida from Houston.
Biles said she was drawn to Landi through his work with USA team-mate Madison Kocian, who won a silver medal on the uneven bars in Rio.
The uneven bars was the only event in which Biles failed to reach the final in Brazil.
“That is his specialty, so hopefully I will become a better bars swinger, and confidence-wise, I will improve,” Biles told the Houston Chronicle.
Biles said she had also been impressed with the Frenchman’s ability to put athletes at ease during competition.
“He does a good job not letting pressure get to the athletes,” she told the Chronicle. “You can see some coaches get stressed but he doesn’t.”
Biles’ 14 months off since the Olympics has included travel, sponsorship work and a stint on reality television competition “Dancing With the Stars.”
She told the Chronicle she is looking forward to returning to competition, most likely in July 2018.
“The time off has been really good,” Biles said. “It’s been exciting to get to do things that I never would have had the opportunity to do, and the time off was good mentally and physically.
“But I am committed to going back to the gym and starting the entire process and working back up to where I was.”