Simone Biles is not a good gymnast. She’s a great gymnast. In fact, she’s the greatest of all time—and she has the medals to prove it. The 24-year-old has won every single all-around competition she’s been in since 2013 and has a record 25 world medals. She’s also the first American woman to win five all-around national titles. Included in these astounding awards are her five Olympic medals (four gold, one bronze). Oh, and it’s worth noting that some of these were won while Simone was injured—she’s competed with broken toes, a kidney stone, and more. That’s how tough and dedicated she is.
In early 2020, sports commentators were sure that the gymnast would be adding to those numbers at the upcoming Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Then COVID-19 struck, and the world came to a halt. Like many other things, the Olympics were postponed—which Simone says was heartbreaking. “It was a whirlwind of emotions—I couldn’t believe the news,” she says. “I was sad. I was angry. I was annoyed. But I also knew it needed to happen to keep everyone safe and get the virus under control.” Back in the Gym
Gymnastics isn’t easy on the body. It’s a high-impact sport, and the rigor of training at the level that Simone does is intense. Most Olympic gymnasts hit their peak in their teens and age out of the sport by the time they hit 20. So for Simone to be competing at 24 is impressive all on its own. The fact that she crushes it the way she does? It’s mind-blowing.
And when the Tokyo Olympics were postponed, it meant Simone would be another year older and have to put her body through another year of tough training. “I knew my coaches would make sure I was ready—no matter how long the postponement was,” says Simone. “Of course, another year of training on your body really takes a toll. But I just knew I’d be ready.”