Who is Simone Biles, The Most Decorated American Gymnast? Biography, Records, Relationship

Simone Biles established herself as a gymnastics prodigy at a young age. She earned her first U.S. and global all-around medals in 2013, after dominating at the junior elite level.

Two years later, she won her third consecutive global all-around title. She went on to lead the United States Olympic women’s gymnastics team, dubbed “The Final Five,” to gold in the individual all-around, vault, and floor exercise, as well as a bronze in the balancing beam, at the 2016 Summer Games.

Biles went on to win a record sixth US all-around victory in 2019, as well as her 25th World Championship medal that fall.

Early Life

Simone Arianne Biles, who was born on March 14, 1997, in Columbus, Ohio, has emerged as a champion in her sport. After their mother’s struggle with substance misuse, she and her sister, Adria, were raised by their grandfather Ron and grandma Nellie.

Ron and Nellie later adopted the two daughters, and Biles refers to her grandma as “Mom.” Nellie has been a continuous source of encouragement for Biles during her climb in the realm of elite athletics; as the gymnast explained to CNN, “she encourages me and never lets me feel down about something for too long.”

Biles noticed her talents at a young age. According to the official USA Gymnastics website, she went on a field trip with her day care group to a gymnastics center, saying, “While there, I imitated the other gymnasts, and Coach Ronnie noticed.” The gym sent me a letter asking if I wanted to join tumbling or gymnastics.” Biles was quickly on her way to improving those innate abilities.

NANNING, CHINA – OCTOBER 10: Gold medalist Simone Biles of United States avoids a bee during the medal ceremony after the Women’s All-Around Final in day four of the 45th Artistic Gymnastics World Championships at Guangxi Sports Center Stadium on October 10, 2014 in Nanning, China. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

Top U.S. Gymnast

Biles, who stands 4 feet 8 inches tall, began competing as a level 8 gymnast in 2007 and had advanced to the junior elite level by 2011. At the American Classic that year, she won the vault and balance beam events and finished third in the all-around. She then went on to win the vault and all-around competitions at the American Classic, the Alamo Classic, the Houston National Invitational, and the Secret U.S. Classic in 2012.

Biles quickly established herself as a force to be reckoned with at the senior elite level, capturing the all-around title at the 2013 U.S. P&G Championships. Also that year, she made history by being the first Black woman to win gold in the all-around at the World Championships. This amazing triumph, she stated to The Hollywood Reporter, certainly served as an example to other young gymnasts: “I think it inspires a lot of the little girls out there to go in the gym and train harder,” she added.

Biles built on her previous triumphs in 2014, winning both the U.S. and global all-around crowns. That same year, she won gold in the vault, floor exercise, balance beam, and all-around at the Secret U.S. Classic. During her floor routines, Biles frequently performed her signature maneuver, a double-flip with a half-twist.

Biles became the first woman to win her third consecutive world all-around title in 2015, giving her a total of ten gold medals in international competition. She then continued training for Rio 2016 at World Champions Centre, which her family owns in Spring, Texas, where she is regarded as one of the country’s top Olympic hopes.

Biles stunned gymnastics fans in July 2016 when she won the all-around title as well as first place in the floor exercise and vault. She was named to the 2016 Olympic team alongside Laurie Hernandez, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, and Madison Kocian.

2016 Olympic Games

Simone Biles
Simone Biles

Biles led the United States women’s gymnastics team to gold on August 9, 2016. She received a vault score of 15.933, a balancing beam score of 15.3, and a floor score of 15.8 for her signature technique, “the Biles,” which consists of a double layout with a half twist. The champion gymnast was part of a squad that included Raisman, Douglas, Hernandez, and Kocian, dubbed “The Final Five.”

“We’re the Final Five because this is [coach] Marta [Karolyi’s] last Olympics and none of this would have been possible without her,” Raisman revealed on the Today Show. We wanted to do it for her because she is always there for us.” “This is the last Olympics with a five-girl team,” she added. The next Olympics will feature only a four-person squad.”

Following team victories in 1996 and 2012, the Final Five became the third American women’s gymnastics team to win gold. Following the competition, Biles tweeted “dreams DO come true” and a shot of the US team on the medal podium.

Biles continued to dominate the Olympic competition, capturing the gold medal in the women’s individual all-around. Aly Raisman of the United States and Aliya Mustafina of Russia won silver and bronze, respectively. What made Biles’ triumph truly remarkable was her 2.1-point victory margin over Raisman, which was bigger than any gymnast from 1980 to 2012. She was also the first woman in two decades to win back-to-back Olympic and world all-around titles.

She went on to win gold in the women’s individual vault competition with a score of 15.966, but fell short in the individual balance beam competition. Biles fought to keep her position after a rare misstep, earning her the bronze medal with a score of 14.733. Sanne Wevers of the Netherlands won gold, while teammate Laurie Hernandez took silver. “The rest of the routine was still pretty good,” Biles told USA Today, “so I can’t be too disappointed with myself.”

Biles maintained her Olympic run by winning gold in the individual floor exercise with a spectacular performance that included her signature move. Biles won her fourth gold medal in Rio with a score of 15.966. Only Larisa Latynina of the Soviet Union in 1956, Vera Caslavska of Czechoslovakia in 1968, and Ecaterina Szabo of Romania in 1984 have won four gold medals in a single Olympic Games. In the floor exercise, Biles’ teammate Raisman won silver, and Amy Tinkler of Great Britain won bronze.

Breaking Records at the U.S. Nationals, World Championships

Biles returned to hard training and reclaimed her place at the top of her sport after taking much of 2017 off. In August 2018, she won all four events at the United States Gymnastics Championships, winning by a massive 6.55 points and became the first woman to win five national all-around titles.

The following year, Biles outdid herself by becoming the first gymnast to pull off a double-double dismount from the balancing beam and the first woman to execute a triple-double in the floor exercise, reducing her sixth U.S. nationals title to a formality.

Biles then won her fifth individual all-around gold medal at the World Championships in October 2019, bringing her total World Championship medals to a record-breaking 25.

“Dancing with the Stars”

Biles entered the 24th season of Dancing with the Stars in 2017, where she was paired with pro Sasha Farber. Despite her skills delighting the judges, the Olympic champion was eliminated during the semifinals in May.

#MeToo and Brother’s Arrest

Biles disclosed on Twitter in January 2018 that she was one of several young women who had been molested by former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, who had recently been sentenced to 60 years in prison on child p****graphy charges and 25 to 40 years in prison on criminal s**ual conduct charges.

“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” she wrote. “For too long I’ve asked myself, ‘Was I too naive? Was it my fault?’ I now know the answers to those questions. No. No, it was not my fault. No, I will not and should not carry the guilt that belongs to Larry Nassar, USAG, and others.”

The gymnast was shocked to learn in August 2019 that her brother, Tevin Biles-Thomas, had been jailed on triple homicide charges. “My heart aches for everyone involved, especially the victims and their families,” Biles wrote on Twitter. “There is nothing I can say to ease anyone’s pain, but I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to everyone affected by this terrible tragedy.”

Yurchenko Double Pike

Biles became the first woman to successfully land the Yurchenko double pike move in competition on May 22, 2021, at the GK US Classic in Indianapolis, Indiana. The move is primarily performed by male gymnasts and consists of a roundoff onto the springboard, a back handspring onto the vault, and a piked double backflip for the landing.

2020 Olympic Games Withdrawal and Return

Due to her mental health, Biles withdrew from the women’s team gymnastics final at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (held in summer 2021 after being postponed by the COVID-19 epidemic). Following Biles’ exit, Team USA was awarded a silver medal. She also missed the vault, uneven bars, and floor exercise finals, as well as the individual all-around, but she did compete in the balancing beam final and won a bronze medal.

“I say put mental health first,” Biles said at a press conference after the team event. “Because if you don’t, then you’re not going to enjoy your sport, and you’re not going to succeed as much as you want to.”

Biles has been out of the sport for nearly two years, but organizers of the 2023 U.S. Classic confirmed in June 2023 that she is registered for the August event, which will mark her return to competitive gymnastics.

Personal Life

HowAfrica reports that Biles married NFL football player Jonathan Owens in April 2023. After becoming public as a couple in August 2020, the couple announced their engagement in February 2022. After they announced their marriage, Biles changed her name on social media to Simone Biles Owens.

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