Thanks to her 25th medal win, Simone Biles is now considered to be the best gymnast of all time. This title, that was held for over two decades by Belorussian gymnast Vitaly Sherbo, has now been beaten by two medals courtesy of the last World Gymnastics Championship in Stuttgart.
Not only did she win the gold in floor exercises, which was predictable, but she also surprised everyone with her performance on the balance beam. She even jumped out of her seat when her scores came up, even impressed with herself. This was all the more important to her because she had to grab the beam for balance at the last two World Championships and the Rio Games, which only brought her bronze medals each time.
“I can’t be more thrilled with the performance that I put out at this world championships,” Biles said. However, she is not so bothered about the number of medals she has won but is more interested in making a real difference in the world of sports as a black athlete than beating world records. “It’s inspiring to young athletes that there are more records that can still be broken,” she let the world know.
As a minority in her ethnicity, gender, and very petite stature, Biles has had to battle every institution to get where she is at. The life that she has built for herself is beyond incredible, given the odds she had to face. Coming from a disadvantaged family, Simone Biles was primarily raised by her grandparents, who she calls mom and dad. Her mother experienced intermittent health problems and was unable to care for her children, and so she left her children to the foster care system. However, it was Biles’ grandmother who brought her the strength to be a superstar gymnast by ensuring that Simone keep her chin up as much as possible.
An extremely impressive gymnast, she started her professional career at the age of 16, where she made her debut in Antwerp, Belgium. It was then that she won her first gold medals. But Biles started her time on the mat much sooner: she was on a class field trip at a gymnastics gym and began to imitate the gymnasts during their practice. Her teacher, in awe, send a note home to her grandmother, saying that she was a natural and should pursue the sport, at least as an extracurricular activity.
Fast forward a few years, during which Simone was in and out of the public school system, finally ending her adolescent years being homeschooled so that she could focus on training, and she was competing at the American Classic in Houston at the age of 14. She did well, placing third all around, with coming in first on vault and balance beam. Her success in the second year at the Classic earned her a spot at nationals, and the rest is history.
Biles made history at her Olympic debut in the 2016 Rio Games, where she not only supported Team USA in winning the gold but also individually qualified herself as the top gymnast in four out of five events. She is even the first female gymnast since 1996 to win the all-around gold as well as an event final gold.
Despite her successes as an individual athlete, Biles’ team USA “The Fierce Five” has always been of great support in her life. She has even told them so, letting them know that, “The team comes first,” even before her personal achievements. Her teammates have been a source of inspiration to her and her family and are an entity that simply cannot be replaced.