Simone Biles

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Simone Biles
Simone Biles at the 2016 Olympics all-around gold medal podium (28262782114).jpg
Biles at the 2016 Olympics all-around gold medal podium
Personal information
Full name Simone Arianne Biles
Born (1997-03-14) March 14, 1997 (age 20)[1]
Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
Hometown Houston, Texas
Residence Spring, Texas, United States
Height 4 ft 8 in (142 cm)[2]
Discipline Women's artistic gymnastics
Level Senior international elite
Years on national team 2012 – present (US)
Gym World Champions Centre (current)[3]
Bannon's Gymnastix Inc. (2003–2014)
Former coach(es) Aimee Boorman
Choreographer Dominic Zito
Eponymous skills Floor exercise: double layout half out

Simone Arianne Biles (born March 14, 1997)[4] is an American artistic gymnast. Biles is the 2016 Olympic individual all-around, vault and floor gold medalist. She was part of the gold medal-winning team dubbed the "Final Five" at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.[5] She also won the bronze medal for the balance beam during the Olympics. Biles is a three-time world all-around champion (2013–15), three-time world floor champion (2013–15), two-time world balance beam champion (2014, 2015), four-time United States national all-around champion (2013–16), and a member of the gold medal-winning American teams at the 2014 and 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships.

Having won a combined total of nineteen Olympic and World Championship medals, Biles is the most decorated American gymnast, taking over from Shannon Miller, who had held this record since 1993. With her win in Rio, Biles became the sixth woman to have won an individual all-around title at both the World Championships and the Olympic Games. With four Olympic gold medals, Biles set an American record for most gold medals in women’s gymnastics at a single Games.

Personal life[edit]

Simone Arianne Biles was born on March 14, 1997, in Columbus, Ohio,[6] the third of four siblings.[7] Her birth mother, Shanon Biles, was unable to care for Simone or her other children – Ashley, Tevin, and Adria – due to her drug and alcohol addiction, and the children were in and out of foster care.[7][8][9] Simone's birth father, Kelvin Clemons, abandoned his family, struggled with addictions, and was never present in his daughter’s life.[10][8] Shanon's father, Ron (Simone's grandfather), and his second wife,[11] Nellie Cayetano Biles, who had two nearly-adult sons, Ron Jr. and Adam, began temporarily caring for Shanon's children in 2000, in the north Houston suburb of Spring, Texas and later in 2003 the couple officially adopted the two youngest children, Simone and Adria, and Ron's sister adopted the two oldest.[12][7][13] Ron, Simone's adoptive father, is originally from Cleveland, and is a former air traffic controller,[7] who served in the military with the U.S. Air Force at San Antonio's Randolph Air Force Base and later with the Federal Aviation Administration.[14] Nellie, Simone's adoptive mother, emigrated from Belize,[15][16][17] is a nurse and the former co-owner of a chain of fourteen Texas-based nursing homes.[7][14][18]

Simone Biles spent all her secondary education as a homeschooler and graduated in summer 2015. She verbally committed to UCLA on August 4, 2014, announcing her decision on Twitter. She planned to defer enrollment until after the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.[19] On July 29, 2015, she announced that she would turn professional, forfeiting her NCAA eligibility.[20]

Biles is Catholic,[21] and also holds Belizean citizenship through her mother.[15][17] She refers to Belize as being her second home.[22] Her sister Adria is also a gymnast.[23]

Gymnastics career[edit]

Biles first tried gymnastics at 6 years old as part of a day-care field trip. The instructors suggested she continue with gymnastics. Biles soon enrolled in an optional training program at Bannon's Gymnastix.[24] She began training with coach Aimee Boorman at age 8.[25]

Junior[edit]

2011[edit]

Biles began her career on July 1, 2011, at the 2011 American Classic in Houston. She placed third all-around, first on vault and balance beam, fourth on floor exercise, and eighth on uneven bars.[26] Later that month, Biles competed at the 2011 U.S. Classic in Chicago, Illinois, where she placed twentieth all-around, fifth on balance beam and floor exercise.[27][28]

2012[edit]

In 2012, Biles switched from public school to home schooling. The change allowed her to increase her training from approximately 20 hours a week to 32. Biles credited the increased training time with her improved success during the 2012 season.[24]

Biles' first meet of 2012 was again the American Classic in Huntsville, Texas, where she placed first all-around and on vault, tied for second on floor exercise, placed third on balance beam and fourth on uneven bars.[29][30] Biles' placement in the American Classic secured her spot to compete at the 2012 USA Gymnastics National Championships.[29] She later competed at the 2012 U.S. Classic in Chicago. She finished first all-around and on vault, second on floor exercise, and sixth on balance beam. In June, she made her second appearance at the USA Gymnastics National Championships, this time in St. Louis, Missouri. She finished third all-around, first on vault, and sixth on uneven bars, balance beam, and floor exercise.[31] After this performance, Biles was named to the United States Junior National Team.

Senior[edit]

2013[edit]

Biles' senior international debut was in March at the 2013 American Cup, a FIG World Cup event. She and Katelyn Ohashi were named as replacements for Elizabeth Price and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Kyla Ross, both of whom withdrew from the competition because of injuries.[32][33][34] Biles led for two rotations but finished second behind her teammate, Ohashi, after a fall off the beam.[35]

Biles immediately went on to compete at the 2013 City of Jesolo Trophy in Jesolo, Italy, where she took the all-around, vault, balance beam, and floor exercise titles in addition to contributing to the United States' team gold medal. She and the U.S. delegation then competed at an international tri-meet in Chemnitz, Germany, against teams from Germany and Romania. The U.S. again won the team gold. In addition, Biles won the vault, balance beam, and floor titles, but tied for second in the all-around behind Ross after a fall on the uneven bars.[31]

In July, Biles competed at the 2013 U.S. Classic. She performed poorly, falling several times, and did not compete vault after tweaking her ankle on the floor exercise. Afterward, she was invited to a private camp with the national team coordinator, Márta Károlyi, and consulted a sports psychologist.[36] Biles went on to compete at the 2013 USA Gymnastics National Championships in August, where she was crowned the national all-around champion ahead of Ross. Biles also won silver on all four individual events.[31] After the USA Gymnastics National Championships, she was named to the Senior National Team and was invited to the qualifying camp for the 2013 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Texas, where she was named to the World Championships team.

In October, Biles competed at the 2013 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp, Belgium. She qualified first in the all-around, second to the vault final, sixth to the uneven bars final, fifth to the balance beam final, and first to the floor final, making her the first American gymnast to qualify to the all-around and all four event finals since Shannon Miller in 1991.[37] Biles competed cleanly during the women's individual all-around and won the competition with a score of 60.216, almost a point ahead of silver medalist Ross and almost a point and a half better than the bronze medalist, 2010 world all-around champion Aliya Mustafina.[38] Biles became the seventh American woman and the first African-American to win the world all-around title. In event finals, she won silver on the vault, behind defending world champion and Olympic silver medalist McKayla Maroney and ahead of 2008 Olympic gold medalist Hong Un Jong of North Korea; bronze on balance beam, behind Mustafina and Ross; and gold on the floor exercise, ahead of Italy's Vanessa Ferrari and Romania's Larisa Iordache. She finished fourth in the uneven bars final, behind China's Huang Huidan, Ross, and Mustafina.[39]

2014[edit]

Biles missed the start of season due to an aggravated shoulder injury, sitting out the 2014 AT&T American Cup and the 2014 Pacific Rim Championships.[40][41] Biles 2014 debut came at the U.S. Classic in Chicago. She won the all-around by a wide margin and also took first place on vault, beam (tied with Ross), and floor.[42] At the 2014 USA Gymnastics National Championships, Biles repeated as national all-around champion after two days of competition, finishing more than four points ahead of silver medalist Ross, despite a fall from the balance beam during her final routine of the meet. She won the gold on vault and floor, tied for the silver on balance beam with Alyssa Baumann, and finished fourth on the uneven bars.[31] She was once again named to the Senior National Team.

On September 17, Biles was selected to compete at the 2014 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Nanning, China.[43] She dominated the preliminary round despite a major error on the uneven bars, qualifying in first place to the all-around, vault, beam, and floor finals, in addition to contributing to the U.S. team's first-place qualification into the team final. During the team final, Biles led the United States to its second consecutive world team championship, which they won over the second-place Chinese team by nearly seven points. In the all-around, Biles performed cleanly on all four events, bettering her bars score from qualifications by over a point, and won her second consecutive world all-around title ahead of two good friends, Ross and Iordache. Biles became the second American woman to repeat as world all-around champion, following Miller (1993 and 1994), and the first woman of any nationality to do so since Russia's Svetlana Khorkina (2001 and 2003).[39] She also received extra press when a video of her fleeing from a bee on the podium during the all-around award ceremony went viral.[44] Biles finished behind North Korea's Hong Un Jong in the vault competition, taking her second consecutive silver medal in that event, but went on to win the gold in the balance beam final ahead of China's Bai Yawen and the gold in the floor exercise final, again, ahead of Iordache. This brought her total of World Championship gold medals to six, the most ever by an American gymnast, surpassing Miller's five.[45] After the world championships, she was named one of ESPNW's Impact 25 and chosen as Sportswoman of the Year by the Women's Sports Foundation.[46][47]

2015[edit]

Biles competed at the 2015 AT&T American Cup at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on March 7. She placed first with a score of 62.299, 4.467 points ahead of second-place finisher U.S. teammate Mykayla Skinner. Later that month, Biles was nominated for the James E. Sullivan Award.[48] She ended the month at the 2015 City of Jesolo Trophy, winning the all-around title with 62.100.[49]

On July 25, she competed at the U.S. Classic and finished first in the all-around, ahead of 2012 Olympic all-around champion Gabby Douglas and Maggie Nichols, with a score of 62.400. On the beam, she scored a 15.250 and took first at the event, ahead of Douglas and 2012 Olympic beam bronze medalist Aly Raisman. She scored a 16.050 on the floor and claimed first on the event, 1.050 points ahead of Douglas and also ahead of Nichols and Bailie Key. She had a small hop on her Amanar vault and scored a 16.000. She then scored 15.150 on her second vault, to score an average of 15.575 and place first in the event, ahead of 2014 Worlds vault bronze medalist and teammate MyKayla Skinner, who averaged 14.950. Biles ended on bars and scored a 15.100 to claim the all-around title. She placed fourth in the event behind 2014 Worlds teammate Madison Kocian, Douglas, and Key.[50]

On July 29, shortly after her performance at the U.S. Classic, Biles announced that she would be turning pro, thus forfeiting her chance to compete for the UCLA Bruins gymnastics team. She signed with Octagon, who also supports fellow American gymnast Aly Raisman and Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps. At the 2015 U.S. National Championships, Biles secured her third all-around national title, becoming only the second woman to ever do so, 23 years after Kim Zmeskal (1990, 1991, 1992).[51]

Biles, along with Douglas, Dowell, Kocian, Nichols, Raisman, and Skinner, was selected to represent the United States at the 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Glasgow, Scotland. Biles once again qualified in first place to the all-around, vault, beam, and floor finals. Her uneven bars score would have qualified her in 8th place to that final as well, but she was excluded, as per the rules, after teammates Kocian and Douglas qualified ahead of her. In team finals, she helped the United States team win their third consecutive gold medal at a World Championships event.[52] During the all-around final, Biles performed below her usual standard, taking a large hop on vault, landing out of bounds on floor (which she stated was a first[53]), and grasping the beam to prevent a fall. However, her final score of 60.399 was more than enough to secure the title with her largest margin of victory yet (over a point ahead of silver medalist Gabby Douglas and bronze medalist Larisa Iordache).[54] With that victory, Biles became the first woman to win three consecutive all-around titles in World Gymnastics Championships history.[55] During day one of event finals, Biles competed on vault, taking bronze behind Maria Paseka (RUS) and Hong Un Jon (PRK). On day two, she competed on balance beam and floor exercise, retaining her world title on both events by large margins. This brought Biles' total World Championships medal count to 14, the most for any American, and total gold medal count to 10, the most for any woman in World Championships history.

As of November 11, 2015, she was a Nike-sponsored athlete – announcing this news through Twitter.[56]

Biles was named Team USA Female Olympic Athlete of the Year in December 2015, making her the fourth gymnast to win the honor.[57]

2016[edit]

Biles at the 2016 Olympics

Biles went into the 2016 season as a fourth-year senior and the reigning National champion. On December 17, 2015, USA Gymnastics announced that she would compete at the 2016 Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championships, in April 2016 in Everett, Washington.[58]

At her first competition of the year, the Pacific Rim Championships, Biles came home with the all-around title and had the highest score on vault (where she debuted a more difficult second vault), floor exercise (where she debuted a new floor routine), and balance beam. Additionally, the US came home with the team title by a wide margin. Biles did not compete in the event finals.

On June 4, Biles competed at the Secret US Classic, on the uneven bars and beam. She did not compete vault or floor exercise. She achieved the highest score on beam, a 15.650, and also received a 15.1 on bars, good enough for 5th in the event.

In the following weeks, Biles competed at the 2016 USA Gymnastics National Championships. Her vault and floor routines all received marks of at least sixteen all four times, and she received the national titles of both, respectively. On bars, she scored 14.750 and an average of 14.925, just shy of a 15 average, and a bronze for the event. On beam she again did very well, with very minor struggles on Day 2, again winning another medal. She won the all-around title by a wide margin of 3.9 points over Aly Raisman. Her two-day total was 125 points even, with an all-around average of 62.5 points.

On July 10, Biles was named to the team for the 2016 Olympics, alongside Gabby Douglas, Laurie Hernandez, Madison Kocian and Aly Raisman.[59]

In September 2016, Biles's medical information was released following the Russian cyber espionage group Fancy Bear's hack into the World Anti Doping Agency. Biles then disclosed on Twitter that she has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and was permitted to take medication for it, having applied for and received a Therapeutic Use Exemption.[60][61]

In 2016, she was chosen as one of BBC's 100 Women, and as the 2016 espnW IMPACT25 Woman of the Year.[62][63] She was also one of the finalists for Time magazine's 2016 Person of the Year.[64] Biles was also nominated for a 2016 ESPY award for Best Female Athlete along with Elena Delle Donne, Katie Ledecky, and Breanna Stewart; Stewart won the award.[65]

2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics[edit]
Competing in the 2016 Summer Olympics
Homecoming parade for Simone Biles in Spring, Texas on August 24, 2016.

Biles appeared with gymnasts Dominique Dawes and Nadia Comăneci in a commercial for Tide called "The Evolution of Power" prior to the 2016 Summer Olympics.[66][67]

On August 7, Biles competed in the Women's Qualification at the 2016 Summer Olympics. She scored a 16.050 on the vault, a 15.000 on the uneven bars, a 15.633 on the balance beam, and a 15.733 on the floor exercise. Along with the team final, she individually qualified into the all-around, vault, balance beam, and floor exercise finals. On August 9, Biles won her first Olympic gold medal in the gymnastics team event.[citation needed] She also won the gold medal individual all-around on August 11, with teammate Aly Raisman winning the silver and Russia's Aliya Mustafina claiming the bronze.[68] Biles had a total score of 62.198 with 15.866 on the vault, 14.966 on the uneven bars, 15.433 on the balance beam, and 15.933 on the floor. Biles had the highest scores on vault, balance beam, and floor; she had the only score over 15 on balance beam in the finals. In the women's vault, she won her second individual gold medal with a score of 15.966, more than 0.7 points ahead of second-place finisher Maria Paseka of Russia and third-place finisher Giulia Steingruber of Switzerland. In the women's balance beam final, she grabbed the beam, scoring a 14.733. Despite her mistake, wobbly routines from France's Marine Boyer, Brazil's Flavia Saraiva, China's Fan Yilin, Romania's Catalina Ponor, and Canadian Isabela Onyshko allowed her to grab bronze behind teammate Laurie Hernandez who won silver and Sanne Wevers of the Netherlands. In the women's floor exercise final, she won gold with a score of 15.966. Teammate Aly Raisman won silver with a score of 15.500 and Amy Tinkler of Great Britain won bronze. She contributed to an historic feat for the gymnastics team, with USA claiming a medal on every event for the first time since 1984.

With four Olympic gold medals, Biles set an American record for most gold medals in women’s gymnastics at a single Games, and equalled a number of other records with her medals won in Rio.[69] Biles' win of four gold medals was the first instance of a quadruple gold medallist in women's gymnastics at a single Games since Ecaterina Szabo (Romania) in 1984, and the fifth overall, after Larisa Latynina (USSR, 1956), Agnes Keleti ( HUN, 1956), Věra Čáslavská (CZE, 1968) and Szabo. Biles became the sixth female gymnast to have won an individual all-around title at both the World Championships and the Olympic Games; the others being Larisa Latynina, Věra Čáslavská, Ludmilla Tourischeva, Elena Shushunova and Lilia Podkopayeva. Biles is the first female gymnast since Lilia Podkopayeva (UKR) in 1996 to win the all around gold as well as an event final gold, and the first female gymnast since Podkopayeva to win the Olympic all around title while holding the World and European/American individual all around titles. Biles joins Latynina (1956–1960), Čáslavská (1964–1968) and Tourischeva (1968–1972), as the fourth female gymnast to win every major all-around title in an Olympic cycle.

Biles now joins Mary Lou Retton in 1984, Shannon Miller in 1992 and Nastia Liukin in 2008 in winning five medals at a single Olympic Games, along with Szabo (ROM, 1984), Nadia Comaneci (ROM, 1976) and Karin Janz (East Germany, 1972). Olga Mostepanova (USSR) also won five gold medals at the Alternate Olympics in 1984. The overall record for most women's Olympic gymnastics medals at a single games (majority gold), remains six medals (Latynina, 1956, 1960 and 1964, Keleti, 1956, Caslavska, 1968, Daniela Silivas, 1988).

Biles and her teammate Gabby Douglas are the only American female gymnasts to win both the individual all-around gold and team gold at the same Olympic games. Douglas won both in the 2012 London games.

She was chosen by Team USA to be the flag bearer for the closing ceremonies. She was the first American female gymnast to be given the honor.[70]

Competitive history[edit]

Year Event Team AA VT UB BB FX
2011 American Classic (Junior) 3rd, bronze medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 8 1st, gold medalist(s) 4
USA Gymnastics National Championships (Junior) 14 7 22 10 12
U.S. Classic (Junior) 20 5 5
2012 U.S. Classic (Junior) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 6 2nd, silver medalist(s)
USA Gymnastics National Championships (Junior) 3rd, bronze medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 6 6 6
2013 American Cup 2nd, silver medalist(s)
City of Jesolo Trophy 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s)
USA-GER-ROM Tri-Meet 1st, gold medalist(s) 2nd, silver medalist(s)
U.S. Classic 7 8
USA Gymnastics National Championships 1st, gold medalist(s) 2nd, silver medalist(s) 2nd, silver medalist(s) 2nd, silver medalist(s) 2nd, silver medalist(s)
World Championships 1st, gold medalist(s) 2nd, silver medalist(s) 4 3rd, bronze medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s)
2014 U.S. Classic 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 4 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s)
USA Gymnastics National Championships 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 4 2nd, silver medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s)
World Championships 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 2nd, silver medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s)
2015 American Cup 1st, gold medalist(s)
City of Jesolo Trophy 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s)
U.S. Classic 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 4 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s)
USA Gymnastics National Championships 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 5 1st, gold medalist(s) 2nd, silver medalist(s)
World Championships 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 3rd, bronze medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s)
2016 Pacific Rim Championships 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s)
U.S. Classic 5 1st, gold medalist(s)
USA Gymnastics National Championships 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 4 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s)
Olympic Trials 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 4 4 1st, gold medalist(s)
Olympic Games 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 3rd, bronze medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s)

Dancing with the Stars[edit]

On March 1, 2017, Biles was revealed as one of the contestants who would compete on season 24 of Dancing with the Stars. She is paired with professional dancer Sasha Farber. She and Farber were eliminated on May 15, 2017, one week before the finals, finishing in fourth place.[71]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Awards
Preceded by
New Zealand Dan Carter
BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year
2016
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Preceded by
United States Serena Williams
L'Équipe Champion of Champions
2016
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Preceded by
United States Serena Williams
Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year
2017
Succeeded by
Incumbent