Mary Lou Retton: 'Just when we thought we were at the physical limit of the sport, then here comes Simone Biles'
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Many of us who've watched gymnast Simone Biles perform have a sneaking suspicion: She may be Superwoman. And it seems that 1984 Olympic gold medalist Mary Lou Retton feels the same way.
"Just when we thought we were at the physical limit of the sport, then here comes Simone Biles," Retton said on Saturday night at the Parade of Olympians event at the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team trials. "She's the best I've ever seen."
Retton shrugged at any suggestions about Biles needing an Olympic gold medal to be declared the GOAT of gymnastics. "Come on, when she shows up in Rio, she'll have those titles. She has a special, unique quality no one else has."
She also sympathized with some of the struggles Gabby Douglas has had this year. "It's very difficult to come back. I competed for another 2 1/2 years after the Olympics and it's hard. ... She's out there on the floor, as reigning Olympic champion, and it's a pressure that's very difficult to describe. There's two ways to go out onto the competition floor. To go out there to win or to go out there trying not to lose. It's a big difference and you can see it on her face there's some nerves and some real pressure. But she's such a strong athlete -- I don't really have the words to say that I respect her and Aly Raisman so much. What they have done is incredibly hard."
Retton may still be the most famous Olympian in the sport, and she got the loudest cheers of the night when her name was announced. "Oh my gosh I was so excited! I think it was all the parents yelling for me though. When I go and speak to kids a lot of them don't know who I am. So I tell them I was the first Gabby Douglas and then they all go 'Ooooooooh.'"