Biles is at the top in all artistic gymnastics events. She won her first world championship title at the age of 16 in Antwerp and today she is the most successful participant in gymnastics world championships of all times, with a total of 19 gold, 3 silver and 3 bronze medals. She has tied the record by winning seven all-around US-championships.
Her weakest discipline is the uneven bars, but even there she is one of the favourites. Biles still needs 4 medals at international competitions to become the most successful professional gymnast of all times. After the postponement of the Olympic Games, Biles also postponed the end of her career. The Olympics in Tokyo should be the crowning glory of her gymnastics career.
Biles is 142 cm tall and weighs 47 kilograms. This gives her the ideal physique for gymnastics. She has about the muscle mass of larger opponents, but because of her smaller size she can make perfect use of leverage. She accelerates quicker than others in her preparation of somersaults and jumps and can show more elements on the limited space of the mat during the routine. Still, her training recipe is simple and it's "practice, practice, practice." To be in top shape for the Tokyo Olympics and to make sure that every routine is spot on, she trains many hours a day.
When new elements are performed at international gymnastics competitions, they are also named after their inventor. Four different tricks already bear Simone Bile's name. Most recently, she performed two new elements at the World Championships in Stuttgart in 2019. Her "Triple-Double" on floor, a double somersault squat with integrated triple twist, is so hard to do that the difficulty scale of the international gymnastics federation FIG had to be expanded and a new letter "J" was introduced for this reason alone.
Described in words, the "triple-double" goes like this: Biles jumps off and does a double backflip in just over a second, while simultaneously spinning around herself three times. Officially, this trick is now called "Biles II" because she already did a double layout with a half twist and blind landing on the ground, which is called "Biles". In addition, two other elements are named after her: An element on the vault, a Yurchenko with half turn in the first flight phase and a stretched forward somersault with two screws, as well as a double somersault backwards with an integrated double screw as an exit from the balance beam. Sounds complicated? It is, even for her opponents at the international top level, and even male gymnasts often cannot imitate what Biles does.
Biles was the first female gymnast to show a Yurtschenko with double somersault backward bent on the vault in Mai 2021. However, since she has not yet shown this at international competitions, it does not yet bear her name.
The floor is her favorite discipline in gymnastics, Biles says, because it offers the most opportunities to show personality in the freestyle. But she also shows character off the floor by standing up for herself and others. She uses her wide reach on social media to take a stand and highlight social injustice, such as in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests.
Simone Biles also spoke out on an even more personal issue. In 2018, in the wake of the online #metoo movement and alongside other prominent gymnasts, she came forward about being sexually abused by Larry Nassar, the former physician of the US gymnastics team. Biles also later addressed the gymnastics federation's misconduct, describing her frustration with officials who were complicit and did not protect her or others affected by the abuse. After the FBI did not follow up on the first reports of abuse as prescribed and thereby allowing Nassar to continue to act for months, Simone Biles' courage in speaking out about her experiences, along with other prominent and non-celebrity gymnasts, helped to convict the guilty doctor.
While it may seem that Simone Biles' victories on the international stage come naturally, she did not have an easy start in life. After her birth mother was unable to care for her children due to drug and alcohol abuse, Simone spent her childhood in foster care and was later taken in by her grandparents and adopted. At the age of six, her talent for gymnastics was recognized during a school trip, and from then on she trained regularly until her first world championship title followed at the age of 16. At her first Olympic Games in Rio she won four gold medals and one bronze.
Today, Biles uses her notoriety to inspire young people to work toward their goals. She is enrolled at the University of the People in business administration and is also involved in helping foster children gain access to education as a brand ambassador for the university.
Overall, she wants to encourage young girls and women in particular to pursue their athletic goals and be confident in their lives. This is now also reflected in her choice of sponsors, as Simone Biles has recently switched from Nike to Athleta, a sportswear brand for women. Together with Athleta, she wants to design products for young female athletes and get involved with Athleta's "Power of She Fund", which offers funding opportunities and various programs for girls and women to improve their lives through sports and also in the form of youth development.