Exclusive: Shilese Jones’ Coach Makes Troublesome Statement About Simone Biles’ Coach Landi..

June 7, 2024

Simone Biles‘ 2023 comeback was a major catalyst for her Olympic year 2024. She didn’t just reclaim the National and World Championship All-Around titles; she also added a fifth eponymous skill to the FIG’s Code of Points. Her Yurchenko double pike vault at the World Championships, now known as Biles II, is officially the most challenging vault in women’s gymnastics, with a difficulty score of 6.4 points.But despite this monumental achievement, there was controversy over a 0.5 neutral deduction Biles received whenever her coach, Laurent Landi, spotted her during the vault for safety purposes. This decision sparked much debate, and now even Shilese Jones’ coach, Sarah Korngold, is weighing in on the issue. In an exclusive interview with EssentiallySports, Korngold shared her thoughts on Landi’s spotting on the podium and the reduction of Simone’s points.Shilese Jones’ coach, Sarah Korngold, opened up to EssentiallySports about why the point deduction Simone Biles received last year doesn’t make sense. She said, “I think it’s like a slippery slope, right? We are allowed to stand there for bars and spot everything. And so that’s allowed.” In women’s artistic gymnastics, spotters are only allowed on uneven bars without an automatic deduction (unless the coach touches the athlete). However, on vault, beam, and floor, having a spotter is an automatic deduction.Given the extreme difficulty and danger of the Yurchenko double pike, using a spotter for safety seems logical. Despite this, Biles received the deduction each time Laurent Landi spotted her. Highlighting Biles’ capabilities, Korngold added, “And then Laurent standing on the podium for Simone, like obviously she was so capable. He wasn’t there because she was doing something she couldn’t do or shouldn’t have been doing, right? It was literally just worst case scenario, I can jump in. And so in those situations, I see no harm, right?”Coach Korngold, in the exclusive interview with EssentiallySports, also argued that concerns about the spotter blocking the camera were unfounded, since additional cameras could easily be placed to ensure comprehensive coverage. She admitted that allowing spotters for vaults might lead to them being used in other events like beam dismounts or tumbling passes. She explained, “And I also can see where people would maybe take that rule and allow their athletes to do things that maybe they aren’t as prepared to do. And that’s not the nature of the rule.”Korngold compared this to the past, when the double front vault was very popular and some athletes who weren’t ready tried it, which she didn’t like seeing. She told EssentiallySports, “I didn’t like watching it. So I don’t know. It’s a slippery slope. I think in the case of Simone, it was very clear that he wasn’t doing anything to help her. She was so capable of that vault. And so I think it’s silly they took the deduction, but like the rules are the rules. I don’t know the answer.” The debate over this rule is not new and even Laurent’s wife, Cecile Landi, also a coach to Simone Biles, expressed her frustration with the deduction, calling it “dumb.”Simone Biles’ coach, Cecile Landi, defends her husband, Laurent Landi’s protective spotting of their prodigyIn a podcast interview, Simone Biles’ coach, Cecile Landi, highlighted the inconsistency of allowing coaches to be present for bars but not for vaults or beam dismounts, where the risks are equally high. She shared, “Yeah, it’s, it’s such a dumb deduction too. Like honestly when you see on bars the coaches and they’re doing hint signal and stuff and this and then you can’t have anybody on a vault like this or even on a vem dismount, I’m sorry. It would’ve saved maybe a few concussions and injuries if people were able to stay.” But the support of the decision extends beyond Simone’s coaches.Chellsie Memmel, the technical lead of the U.S. high-performance staff, also supported the idea that Biles’ safety should be the top priority, saying, “My personal opinion is that he (Laurent Landi) should be able to stand there.” Despite these opinions, Donatella Sacchi, president of the women’s technical committee, confirmed that no rule changes would be made before the Olympic Games. Now, in 2024, Biles has been performing Biles II without Landi’s spot, marking a significant milestone in her journey.The 2024 Core Hydration Classic saw her execute the vault unassisted, a testament to her readiness and growth. Cecile Landi acknowledged this shift, saying, “She’s been doing it without him for a while now.” Landi continued sharing how Biles now feels ready, saying, “Honestly she was ready last year, I think Laurent was not ready last year. Let’s put it that way,” Cecile stated.Reflecting on this journey, we can see how much Simone Biles has grown this year. And now even her tough competitor, Shilese Jones’ coach, Sarah Korngold, has acknowledged her dominance. What do you think about Sarah Korngold’s words to EssentiallySports and Biles’ journey?