Rio’s Golden Favorites: Simone Biles in Women’s Gymnastics

She was a six-year-old when she walked into a placed called Bannon’s Gymnastix in Houston, Texas. Simone Biles was there on a day-care field trip, watching other gymnasts, mimicking their moves, apparently so well that one of the coaches took down her name. The parents were contacted and Biles fate was sealed.

Today, the Columbus, Ohio native is not only the very best female gymnast in the world right now. Biles, who is the first woman to win three consecutive all-around world championships and the recipient of the most gold medals (10) in the history of world championship competition, is considered by some the best ever.

Simone Biles
Simone Biles at the 2015 P&G Gymnastics Championships where she won her third consecutive.


High performance athletes are different from us mere mortals. In the Biles’ family, January 1 is not about non-committal new year’s resolutions. Goals are set. Concrete ones. Ones that you are held accountable for. Here’s Buzzfeed’s Dvora Meyers explaining what Simone’s mother, Nellie, told her:

Nellie told me that her daughter had tried to delay their goal-setting talk that day. “She just avoided me like the plague,” she said. But Biles couldn’t avoid her mother, just as she could no longer avoid questions about the Olympics as she had in previous years. That morning in January, I watched Aimee Boorman, Biles’ longtime coach, write out the 2016 competition schedule on a large, laminated calendar to be hung on the gym walls: the American Cup, Classics, national championships, the Olympic trials, and a whole month blocked out for training camps and then the games. Everything was oriented toward Rio — and all eyes were on Biles.

Nellie is not actually Simone’s mother, she is her biological grandmother who, along with her husband Ron, took Simone in after Simone’s biological mother struggled with substance abuse. Clearly, the grandparents changed Simone’s destiny.

Today, Biles is considered a game-changer, her power and speed never before seen in women’s gymanstics. As the Huffington Post gushed, “she has an immensely difficult tumbling pass named after her, a double back layout with a half twist. If you’re the first person to complete a new trick in competition, you get that trick named after you forever. This is the Biles.”

At Rio, Simone Biles is a sure thing to win gold in at least the all-arounds. The question, like with Kōhei Uchimura for the Japan mens’ team, can Biles lead the US women’s team, the current reigning Olympic champions, to gold. Golden glory awaits.