Knocking on wood, Boorman leaving nothing to chance
posted on 07/08/2016

© John Cheng

By Nick McCarvel

SAN JOSE – Aimee Boorman isn’t overly superstitious, but the questions were coming so often that something had to be done about it.

“Can Simone Biles win gold in Rio?” She was asked, over and over (and over) again.

It was late this winter that she and Biles were in Lancaster, Penn., for an interview and photoshoot with The New Yorker at Prestige Gym, and Boorman got asked a similar question. As always, she looked around to find wood to touch as she answered.

You know – knock on wood – just to be safe. We all do it.

Kelly McKeown, a vice president for GK Elite leotards, was present that day, and Boorman made mention that maybe she needed something to tap on, perhaps a bracelet with a bit of wood on it. Something so she wasn’t always searching.

“I said I needed a bracelet on my wrist that had some wood on it, so I can have it on when I start thinking about something or someone says something that makes me want to knock on wood,” Boorman said. “I’m not superstitious at all, but I don’t want to risk it, either.”

Shortly after the photo shoot, McKeown was on a family trip in Italy when her daughter pointed out a wooden ring in a boutique they were at in a small coastal town and said, “You should get this for Aimee.”

McKeown thought it was a great idea.

“I know Aimee isn’t a big jewelry person, and this ring wasn’t gaudy and wouldn’t get in the way,” she said. “It was perfect.”

So the Thursday before the P&G Gymnastics Championships in St. Louis, McKeown found Boorman and told her she had a gift for her. It was the ring.

“I think it cut a hole in my finger in St. Louis,” Boorman said Thursday in the lead-up to the U.S. Olympic Trials in San Jose.

She spent much of nationals tapping and spinning the ring, moving it with a mindless sort of twitch as she followed Biles around the competition, offering her usual sage advice and encouragement. No matter where she is in or out of the gym now, she can touch wood whenever she needs to. That problem has been solved.

“She was laughing when I first gave it to her, and I wasn’t sure if she would wear it or not,” McKeown said. “But she came up to me after St. Louis and said, ‘Look how polished it is because I can’t stop touching it!’ I’m just glad we found her something convenient. The ring seemed like the perfect solution.”

So as you watch Biles and Boorman this weekend and beyond, look closely. Do you see the ring? Chances are Aimee is tapping on it.