Simone Biles Makes History As First Black Woman To Win 5 Top Gymnastics Titles
Simon Biles is back and already making history.
The gold medalist returned to the U.S. Gymnastics Championships over the weekend, where she won the U.S. all-around title. The win makes Biles the first Black woman to win five all-around titles, according to the U.S. Olympic Committee.
Sports Illustrated reports that the win also makes Biles the only woman to ever win five national all-around titles, earning four consecutive titles from 2013-2016. And at age 21, she’s the oldest women’s all-around champion since 1971.
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Biles made history in 2016 after becoming the first woman to win four consecutive national championships in 42 years as well as the first American gymnast to earn 14 World Championships medals.
And while the Olympian is surely an inspiration to those who love gymnastics, she’s also an inspiration to many who have faced sexual abuse.
Th gold medalist’s light teal leotard at this weekend’s event was a nod to sexual assault survivors.
Biles told the Associate Press Sunday that her color choice was “for the survivors. I stand with all of them and I think it’s kind of special to unite [people].”
The gymnast came forward earlier this year with accusations of sexual abuse against former USA Gymnastics doctor, Larry Nassar.
“I too am one of the many survivors that was sexually abused by Larry Nassar,” she wrote on Instagram. “Please believe me when I say it was a lot harder to first speak those words out loud than it is now to put them on paper. There are many reasons that l have been reluctant to share my story, but I know now it is not my fault.”
Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 125 years in prison after nearly 200 girls and women shared statements or in-person testimony detailing the abuse they faced and how it affected them.
After coming forward, Biles added, “I know that this horrific experience does not define me. I am much more than this. I am unique, smart, talented, motivated, and passionate. I have promised myself that my story will be much greater than this and I promise all of you that I will never give up.”