Simone Biles: The Greatest of all Time
On June 6, Simone Biles won her seventh national women’s-all around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Fort Worth, Texas—more than any other woman, ever. She’s a 19-time World Champion and a four-time Olympic gold medalist, making her the winningest gymnast of all time. And in Tokyo next month, she could become the first woman to win back-to-back Olympic all-around gold in more than 50 years.
Biles wore leotards with a sequined goat for this year’s U.S. championship. Because she is the GOAT—as in “best of all time,” she has chosen the animal as her symbol since 2019. This, among other things, is what distinguishes Biles. She embraces the fact that she is unique, that there is no one like her in the world, and never has been. “It’s important to teach our female youth that it’s OK to say, ‘Yes, I am good at this,’ and you don’t hold back,” Biles told USA Today in 2019. “You only see the men doing it. And they’re praised for it, and the women are looked down upon for it. But I feel like it’s good (to do) because once you realize you’re confident and good at it, then you’re even better at what you do.”
It’s important to teach our female youth that it’s OK to say, ‘Yes, I am good at this,’ and you don’t hold back.
Biles executed the Yurchenko double pike on the vault last month at the U.S. Classic in Indianapolis, becoming the first woman in history to attempt this move in a competition. Biles demonstrated the move in practise and uploaded a video of it on Twitter in February. More than 2.5 million people have watched the video. Sceptics questioned whether the double pike was too risky even back then. However, limits aren’t exactly Biles’ thing, as anyone who has watched her career knows.
Bile has four signature moves named after her, which can only be awarded if a gymnast performs the move correctly at the world championships or the Olympics. Biles is so far ahead of her competitors that even if she isn’t perfect, her performance is more than enough to win convincingly. Her overall score at the US championship was 4.7 points higher than Sunisa Lee, the runner-up. At the 2016 Olympics in Rio, her then-teammate Aly Raisman joked that placing second to her felt like an accomplishment: “I knew that the gold was out of the question, so the silver for me genuinely feels like the gold medal,” Raisman said.
No wonder, a seven-part documentary about Biles is titled Simone vs Herself. Because at this point in her career, she’s her only competition.
Written by Prithiva Gupta