It is no coincidence that Simone Biles, the Texas native and “4-foot-8 giant,” has become one of the most dominating
athletes in the world of sports. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
By Demetrius Dillard
Special to the AFRO
A number of athletes are the subject of considerable publicity at the moment, but none have garnered as much global attention as gymnast Simone Biles.
MLB designated hitter Shohei Ohtani has set the baseball world ablaze with multiple breathtaking performances this season.
Track sensation Sha’Carri Richardson, despite being banned from upcoming Olympic competition, had sports fans in awe as one of the fastest women in the modern era.
Not to diminish what Paul, Ohtani and Richardson are doing for sports, but the current No. 1 athlete in the world moniker only belongs to one person, and that’s none other than Biles.
Being that she is by far the most decorated American gymnast ever, it is no coincidence that the Texas native is esteemed the sport’s greatest of all time, a “4-foot-8 giant” and one of the most dominant athletes in her respective sport.
Excelling in a sport dominated by White athletes has its challenges, especially after reaching the pinnacle of success that Biles has. The 24-year-old was originally inspired by three-time Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas, and now prides herself on transforming the future of gymnastics as she inspires the next generation of female athletes.
“It doesn’t matter where you start, but where you’re going and how you pick yourself back up from those falls,” Biles said in a recent interview on Jimmy Fallon’s late night show. “Just dream big, and then dream bigger after that because you never know where your dream will take you.”
Biles adds to her long list of accomplishments every time she competes. Most recently, she captured her world-record seventh all-around title in the 2021 U.S. National Gymnastics Championships where she was the vault, balance beam and floor exercise champion and uneven bars bronze medalist.
At just 24 years old, Simone Biles has already become one of the most decorated gymnasts of all time and although she
has already broken records and made history, she is projected to achieve much more than that.(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Since turning professional in 2011, Biles has been a dominant force, evidenced by an absurd 30 combined Olympic and World Championship medals along with a myriad of other feats. With the Tokyo Olympics fast approaching, she will likely add to that total.
As gymnastics expert Luan Peszek wrote, some of the qualities that distinguish Biles from most other gymnasts is “her consistency, her exuberant personality, and the high degree of difficulty she incorporated into her routines in all four events: vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise.”
In 2013, which was her first year as a senior competitor, Biles won the all-around title at her first world gymnastics championships, making history as the first Black woman to reach that achievement. Since then she has hit the ground running, incessantly leaving her mark in gymnastics as she achieves historical greatness seemingly every time she competes regardless of the obstacles she confronts along the way.
In the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics, Biles once again exceeded expectations by leading the U.S. to gold in the team event in addition to securing another individual all-around title. She placed No. 1 in the floor and vault events to become the fifth female gymnast ever to claim four gold medals at a single Olympics.
After announcing that she had been a victim of former U.S. national gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, Biles returned to competition at the 2018 U.S. national championships where she went on to win all five events, clinching a record-setting fifth all-around title.
A 2019 AP Female Athlete of the Year and 2017 ESPY Awards Best Female Athlete winner, Biles successfully defended her 2019 GK U.S. Classic all-around title by repeating as this year’s champion. En route to winning her seventh all-around title, she landed the Yurchenko double pike – widely considered the sport’s most difficult vault.
Simply put, Biles is the perfect embodiment of “Black Girl Magic” and was destined to be an exceptional gymnast. “I’ve had the joy for this sport since the first day I stepped into the gym, it’s what I wanted to do,” Biles said.
“I actually didn’t think I was ever going to make it this far so I’m very proud of how far I’ve come, and kind of pushed my own personal boundaries as well as gymnastics boundaries. But what gives me joy in this sport is trying to be the best I can be and whatever happens, happens.”
The scary part is that she’s arguably still in her prime, so only time will tell what the future holds.
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