I’m not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps – I’m the first Simone Biles,” said the American gymnastic powerhouse at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and her comment struck a chord. Still just 24, Biles is already in an extremely exclusive ‘legendary’ category of Olympians, occupied by the likes of the Jamaican sprinter and American swimmer. She is already the greatest gymnast that ever lived. But she’s also doing it her own way.
Biles rose to fame in 2013 – winning two World Championship golds aged just 16, including the all-around title. She followed that with four Worlds golds in 2014 and another four in 2015.
By the time Rio 2016 – her first Olympics – rolled around, she was already a superstar and the hottest of hot favourites for the title. She didn’t disappoint: Biles won gold in the all-around, team, vault and floor, and bronze on the beam.
Her dominance is built on an utter mastery of gymnastic basics: with a tiny 4 foot 8 frame, incredible athletic ability and power, plus a low centre of gravity, she is built to be the ultimate gymnast. Add in supreme levels of hard work, a great imagination when it comes to her craft, and megawatt levels of personality, and she is almost unbeatable.