Simone Biles: America’s Greatest Gymnast

Simone Arianne Biles was born on March 14, 1997 in Columbus, Ohio. From a young age, she showed immense talent and ability in gymnastics. Despite a difficult childhood growing up in foster care, Biles pursued her passion for the sport and rose to become the most decorated American gymnast in history.

simone biles at rio 2016
(Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil)

Table of Contents

Simone Biles Facts

Full NameSimone Arianne Biles
BirthMarch 14, 1997 – Columbus, Ohio
NationalityUSA
Height4 feet 8 inches
SpouseJonathon Owens
Major Achievements7 Olympic Medals
25 World Championship Medals

Simone Biles Early Life

When Biles was just three years old, she was placed in foster care with her younger sister after their mother struggled with drug and alcohol addiction. In 2000, Simone and her sister were adopted by their maternal grandfather Ron and his wife Nellie. It was her adoptive parents who first recognized Biles’ natural talent and affinity for gymnastics.

At age 6, Biles began training at Bannon’s Gymnastix, a local gym in Houston, Texas. Her coaches quickly realized her potential, given her supreme focus, work ethic, and daring ability to flip and twist with ease. She spent countless hours perfecting her skills, soon advancing to the elite competitive level.

Even in her youth, Biles’ raw talent and athleticism were undeniable. She had the power and strength of an older athlete along with an inherent courage that allowed her to throw difficult skills most gymnasts wouldn’t even attempt. Her compact muscular frame was perfectly suited for the sport too. While many wrote her off initially for not having the lithe, lean build of a typical gymnast, Biles proved skeptics wrong with her speed, agility, and explosiveness.

Competitive Career

Biles had a meteoric rise in the world of competitive gymnastics. She was named to the U.S. Junior National team in 2009 at just age 12 after dominating at regional and national competitions. By 2010, she was competing internationally for the first time, placing first in the all-around and balance beam at the CoverGirl Classic against some of the best young gymnasts in the world.

Her breakthrough moment came in 2013 at the age of 16, when Biles won the all-around gold medal at the P&G Championships against a stacked field of competitors including Olympic champion Gabby Douglas. This qualified Biles to the World Championships that same year, where she helped the U.S. team win gold in inspiring fashion. Individually, she also won the all-around silver medal despite a fall on the balance beam.

simone biles flip

From 2013 onward, Biles dominated the sport of gymnastics without rival. She won an astounding three straight World all-around titles from 2013 to 2015, including by record margins in 2014 and 2015. She also helped the U.S. team capture gold in every World and Olympic competition she entered.

Some of Biles’ other major competitive accomplishments include:

  • 25 World Championship gold medals (most ever for a female gymnast)
  • 5 Olympic medals from 2016 Rio Games (4 gold in team, all-around, floor, vault + 1 bronze on beam)
  • Record 7 national all-around titles
  • First woman to land the incredibly difficult Yurchenko double pike vault in competition
  • 4 skills named after her in the Code of Points

Known for her extreme power, height, and difficulty of skills, Biles redefined what was considered possible in women’s gymnastics. She pioneered jaw-dropping signature moves like the Biles vault and triple-double on floor exercise. With her consistently perfect execution and high-flying release skills on bars, she showed complete mastery of the sport.

In 2016, Biles became the first American gymnast ever to win four gold medals in a single Olympics. With her charismatic personality, heartwarming backstory, and heroics in the face of adversity, Biles became a megastar worldwide recognized even by non-gym fans.

Challenges and Comeback

Despite her unprecedented success, Biles’ career has not been without challenges. In late 2015, she revealed that she was among the hundreds of young female gymnasts who suffered sexual abuse by former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. Biles showed tremendous courage and vulnerability by speaking out about the trauma she endured.

At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Biles made the shocking decision to withdraw during the team finals due to a dangerous condition called “the twisties.” This occurs when gymnasts lose control of their body while twisting in midair. Showing maturity beyond her years, Biles prioritized her own health and safety over adding to her medal count.

After regaining her skills, the GOAT returned on the final day of competition to capture a bronze medal on balance beam. Showing incredible resilience under pressure, Biles cemented her legacy as an inspiration far beyond the world of sports.

simone biles doha medal

In 2022, Simone Biles announced she would retire from elite gymnastics competition after one final 35-city tour. With her sights set on the future, the possibilities seem endless for what Biles may accomplish next.

However, by 2023 Biles announced a comeback and she began training in earnest with her sights set on a place at the 2024 Olympics being held in Paris.

Simone Biles Legacy

Without a doubt, Simone Biles is the greatest gymnast of all time. The only gymnast to hold more World medals is male legend Vitaly Scherbo. Her 25 World Championship medals are the most ever for any gymnast, male or female.

Biles’ legacy extends far beyond the gym mats. She broke barriers as an African-American athlete dominating a sport historically populated with white competitors. As a young woman who overcame abuse, poverty, and other hardships, she embodies resilience and perseverance.

Most importantly, Biles’ self-confidence, candidness about mental health, and willingness to speak her mind have inspired countless young fans. There’s no doubt Biles has forever raised the benchmark of greatness in gymnastics and opened doors for Black athletes, women, and all those who dare to dream big.

With her unparalleled skills, boundless heart, and fighting spirit, this American champion continues to make history with a comeback in 2023 and her sights are set on dominating the sport once again at Paris 2024.

Conclusion

So in summary, Simone Biles is the undisputed G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time). Her groundbreaking contributions to gymnastics are still being written, but Biles has already cemented her place as an icon who transcended her sport.

FAQs

Who is Simone Biles husband?

Simone Biles married NFL star Jonathon Owens in 2023. The American Football player has starred for teams including the Arizona Cardinals and the Green Bay Packers. They first started dating in 2020.

How much money has Simone Biles won in the Olympics?

Simone Biles has not won as much at the Olympics as you might think. Each country has its own prize money per medal and based on the USA system, Biles has won around $150,000 for her achievements. This makes only a small percentage of her total net worth which is estimated at over $15 million.

Who is the most successful female Olympian?

Despite Simone Biles’s amazing feats in gymnastics, Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina won more medals to date in her Olympic career. In total Latyina won 18 medals but Biles is still young enough to surpass this number.

Where was Simone Biles born?

Simone Biles was born in Columbus, Ohio.

Sources

Official Olympic Medal Records – www.olympics.com

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Last Updated on February 20, 2024 by Andrew Payne

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