In Stuttgart, Germany, world-renowned gymnast Simone Biles surpassed Vitaly Scherbo to become the most decorated gymnast of all time at the World Championships, collecting her 25th medal, including 18 gold medals. After collecting her 24th medal, which ensured her the record, Biles said, “I was really proud.” She should be, as she continues to push the limits of her greatness.
After the great success of 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Biles decided to take 2017 off to take a break, but she returned strong as ever in 2018. Prior to the World Championships, Biles competed at the National Championships in August where she placed first in every event she performed in, becoming the first woman to achieve this feat, since Dominique Dawes, in 25 years.
A few months later at the World Championships in October, Biles continued to perform at a high level. During the team event, she scored the highest score on uneven bars, vault, and floor exercises helping Team U.S.A. win a gold medal. In solo events she continued to perform just as well, collecting gold medals in all-around and floor exercise while taking her first gold on the vault. She followed that up finishing second on uneven and third on the balance beam event. Following these events, Biles became the first American female to win a model at every event in the World Championships.
Biles is looked on as a role model and icon, as she should be, but her life has not always been easy. Born in Columbus, Ohio, Biles was in an atmosphere where drinking and drug use were common. Her biological parents struggled to overcome their habits. Her father, then, abandoned her, and her mother had to give her up for adoption; but she found her escape at the age of six.
On a day care field trip, Biles noticed a group of teenaged girls performing routine gymnastics maneuvers. She copied them and a coach nearby noticed how good she was. So, she mentioned to her parents that they should sign up for lessons. The rest is history as they say.
Biles has become so iconic within the sport that she has had moves named after her. Three are called the Biles, which were performed on the vault, balance beam and floor exercise respectively. The fourth is called the Biles II, which is also performed on the floor exercise. All of these maneuvers are considered the most difficult in the sport, and to make it more amazing, two of them were just completed at the 2019 World Championships.
In Germany, Biles was in her element. While helping her team to snag another gold medal in team competitions was impressive, it was her individuals that caught attention. She was able to win the gold on the vault, as she tied for the most models ever at the World Championships. On the second day of the competition, Biles scored a 15.066 on the balance beam to win the gold medal. And then, she recorded her 25th medal on the floor exercise with a score of 15.133.
Simone Biles was even nominated for the best female athlete of 2019 at the ESPY’s. What else can’t she do? It will be exciting to see what she does at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Sources: Academy of Achievement, ESPN