As a gymnastics powerhouse and five-time Olympic gold medalist, Simone Biles has transcended the world of competitive sports to become an inspiration for women, minorities, and young people around the globe. Throughout her decorated career, her determination and unwavering commitment to excellence have helped redefine what's possible for young black women in gymnastics and sports. Over the years, her success in gymnastics has truly solidified her place as one of history's most revered athletes — but it's not just her accomplishments on the mat that make Simone Biles so influential.
Simone has recently ventured into culture, politics, fashion, and philanthropy, making her a cultural icon.
Simone Biles' Rise to the Top in Gymnastics
Simone Biles is undoubtedly one of history's most successful and talented gymnasts. She has risen to the top of her sport, wowing audiences and judges alike with her jaw-dropping routines and incredible athleticism, but her journey to the top has not been without hardships. Biles was in and out of foster care until her maternal grandfather adopted her in 2003. She began taking gymnastics at the age of 6, and by the age of 14, she was already competing in competitions. Her journey from there was nothing short of amazing.
Simone has achieved so much at the young age of 26. She has 30 medals, which make her the most decorated in World Championship history. She also has 23 world gold medals, six most all-around titles in the women's competition, and seven Olympic medals. Her commitment to excellence has brought her numerous achievements and etched her name in history, and she will be an inspiration to many for years to come.
How Simone Biles Has Shifted the Culture
Simone Biles's impact on gymnastics exceeds her impressive medal count and record-breaking routines. She recently released an athletic clothing line with the Athleta brand called "Because I Can." The collection name comes from an interview that Simone did in 2021. Reporters asked her why she was doing such high-difficulty moves, and she replied, "Because I can." This statement is a testament to her strong belief in herself and her abilities.
And in a world where Black women are often expected to shrink themselves, her confidence is refreshing. Simone has also been open about her struggles with mental health. She shocked everyone when she withdrew from competition during the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. She was preparing to testify at a U.S. Senate hearing about the sexual abuse case against Larry Nassar, who sexually abused her and other female gymnasts during his time as a U.S.A. gymnastics team doctor. The stress of the trial and the high level of competition caused Biles to suffer from extreme bouts of anxiety.
She was also experiencing "the twisties," a mental block where gymnasts lose track of their position in midair. She sought mental health therapy and has also credited taking walks, the Cerebral app, and a little retail therapy with helping her overcome, according to The Sports Business Journal.
What We Can Learn from Simone Biles
Her unyielding spirit and willingness to be open about her struggles and journey empower other young women to strive for the best. The journey to the top may not be smooth and easy, but it is rewarding. Simone Biles is proof of that.