Rio 2016: ‘It’s Usain!’ US gymnastics stars Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles star-struck by Bolt

Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles may be reigning Olympic and world champions but meeting Usain Bolt proved an overwhelming experience.
Simone Biles may be a 10-time world champion but that has not stopped her from being star-struck by fellow athletes. How Hwee Young / EPA
Simone Biles may be a 10-time world champion but that has not stopped her from being star-struck by fellow athletes. How Hwee Young / EPA

Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles may be reigning Olympic and world champions in gymnastics but meeting Jamaican sprint star Usain Bolt in Rio proved an overwhelming experience for the US teammates.

“He walked into the cafeteria, and Aly (Raisman) and Gabby (Douglas) about flipped the dinner table and screamed ‘It’s Usain!’ like little girls,” said 19-year-old Biles, a record 10-time world champion tipped to be one of the stars of the Rio Games.

“I was like, ‘You guys, you have to calm down, (do) you know what it’s like to be in that position?’ But it was very cool.

“It’s the Olympics, but if you think about it your brain’s going to fall out, you’re going to freak out. So we are trying to treat it like a championships.”

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Biles was equally impressed by rubbing shoulders with six-time men’s world all-around gymnastics champion and Olympic gold medallist Kohei Uchimura of Japan.

“Everyone knows who he is. He’s a legend and it’s very exciting to watch him (in competition),” she said.

“It’s awesome seeing him around the (Olympic) Village because he’s just so chilled, and every time he’s in the cafeteria he’s like, ‘Yeah, like whatever, you know.’

“He just carries himself very well and we all look up to him, because he’s a normal human being like the rest of us but he’s done so much.

“We say, ‘Hey, Kohei’ every time we pass him, and he just does a head nod.”

Four years ago, Biles was watching another American gymnast, Douglas, win all-around gold at the London Olympics.

She said she couldn’t believe how far she has come in the past four years winning a third all-around and team title at worlds last year.

“Every day in the room Laurie (Hernandez) and I are like, ‘OK, this is a joke.’ We’re waiting to be woken up (as if in a dream),” she said.

“We try not to (go on social media) unless we’re posting a picture, but it’s definitely a way to get our mind off gymnastics, but other than that we’re just chilling in the room and having fun together.”

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Published: August 5, 2016 04:00 AM

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