New Delhi, Jan 20: American gymnast Simone Biles, who pocketed as many as four gold medals at the Rio Olympics, has called Dipa Karmakar an exciting talent and a role model for the aspiring kids in India.
Dipa had talked about her brief meeting with Simone during the 2016 Rio Olympics. Dipa had made history by becoming the first Indian gymnast to qualify for the Olympics.
In Rio, she exceeded expectations by finishing fourth in the vault final, missing out on a bronze by a small margin. Simone not only ended up with the vault gold but also took the floor exercise, all-around and team event.
"I didn't speak to her too much at the Olympics but I do know what she did for her sport was history breaking. So I know back home she inspired a lot of other little kids to be just like her which means a lot. And for us to watch someone break history in the same sport that we do, it's amazing to watch and watch it blossom. She's exciting," said Simone when asked about her thoughts on Dipa.
The Indian did not win a medal but still became an overnight star in her country, mainly due to her successful attempt at the "Produnova" vault.
With that, she became only the fifth ever gymnast to pull off the "vault of death". Asked about attempting "Produnova" in the future, Simone replied in the negative.
"I think certain people stick to certain things that they want to do, and I don't see that happening in my future. Different techniques and different skills work for different people. That works for her and then my skills work for me," said the 19-year-old, who has been nominated for 2017 Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award.
Life has changed for Simone since her incredible exploits in Rio. She made a "dream" visit to the White House and spent time with the Obamas. The champion gymnast also grabbed a lot of attention by posing for the swimsuit edition of the Sports Illustrated.
"As a little girl or as a little kid, you always want to become President one day and go visit the White House. But to actually have the opportunity it was amazing to meet Mr. Obama and Mrs. Obama and how we interacted," she said recalling her White House experience.
All was not hunky dory for Simone in her growing up days. She had family issues and was raised by her grandparents. She also had to overcome ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). She is on a break at the moment and says future planning can wait.
"I haven't thought about it too much, because I am taking a little bit of a break," said Simone when asked about the number of medals she would like to win in the future including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.