On Sunday, Simone Biles, the reigning world and Olympic champion gymnast, just secured one of the two guaranteed spots on the Olympic team bound for Tokyo next month.
According to ESPN, “Biles heads to Japan as the face of her sport, the U.S. delegation and maybe even the entire Olympic movement…Her consistent excellence…combined with her charisma and her possibility-pushing routines have thrust her into the company of Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt, athletes whose dominance on the world stage have made them Olympic icons.”
In the past 8 years, Simone Biles has not lost an all-around competition—which is just one statistic that makes her one of the most dominant athletes in the world. Biles originally planned to end her career and retire last summer post-Olympic games with more gold medals in tow. COVID-19 had other ideas. “When the pandemic postponed the Games until this July, Biles reluctantly decided to train for another year,” CBS reports.
CBS recounts that “[n]o one ever dreamed Biles would reach such great heights when she was a small child in Columbus Ohio.” In her early years, times were hard, and Simone and her sister ended up in foster care before being moved down to Texas and adopted by her grandparents. After “[s]eeing Simone somersaulting around their living room, her new parents put her in gymnastics out of self-preservation.” What happened next is history. Since 2013, she has won 16 all-around titles at World Championships.
With all of this glory has come grief in the form of disgraced former USA Gymnastics physician Dr. Larry Nassar when “the Indianapolis Star Newspaper exposed the darkest secret in gymnastics…[and] was accused of sexually abusing gymnasts.” And “[i]n January 2018, on the eve of Nassar’s sentencing hearing, Biles was ready to admit she too had been a victim.”
Now Biles is calling for an independent investigation into what happened. When asked if she had a daughter with the way USA Gymnastics is right now, would she want her to be a part of the system, Biles responded adamantly, “No, because I don’t feel comfortable enough because they haven’t taken accountability for their actions and what they’ve done and they haven’t assured us that it’s never going to happen again.” Currently, Biles “is the only athlete affected by the scandal who is still active.”
Despite having reached such an elite level in the sport, Biles is not content with the status quo and is planning to wow the judges and audience with her signature moves as well as some potential new ones, one of which being the Yurchenko double pike, and in doing so will be attempting a move at the Olympics that only men have landed.
So what does the future hold for Simone Biles? As ESPN aptly stated, “Next stop: Tokyo. And one more shot at history. And gold. Perhaps lots of it.” In her own words, “I didn’t come this far to only come this far…“I want to see how much I’m capable of….and I can,” as she stated in her interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes.