Simone Biles: OWNS It
Updated: Apr 10, 2018
Many people aspire to be the "greatest ever" at something they love to do. Few people succeed. Simone Biles is one of those few. With 19 Olympic and World Championship medals, the 20-year-old has become the more decorated American gymnast in history, overtaking a record set in 1993. Her accomplishments, however, stand out even more due to her humble beginnings.
Born in Columbus, Ohio, Simone was the third of four children. With her father out of the picture and her mother struggling with addiction, Simone and her siblings were placed in foster care, eventually living with her grandfather, his wife, and their nearly-adult sons.
She first tried gymnastics at a daycare field trip at age six. After imitating the athletes she saw there, a coach took notice and wrote a letter to her family, urging them to enroll Simone in gymnastics. By age eight, Simone was train Coach Aimee Boorman. Within four years, she cemented her place at the junior elite level, taking top spot in the vault and balance beam in 2011.
By 2013, she was competing and dominating at the senior elite level, bursting, as Biography puts it, into the spotlight as the all-around winner at the 2013 U.S. P&G Championships. That same year, she made history by becoming the first African American to win gold all-around at the World Championships. When asked, Simone said that she thought her performance would inspire girls to "train harder"—a nod to the hard work and dedication she has maintained in perfecting her craft.
Simone continues to dominate at gymnastics championships, and at the Olympics, practically sweeping gold at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
In her personal life, Simone embodies "Black Girl Magic." Although she has been faced with continued hardships—during 2018's #MeToo movement, Simone revealed that she was one of the victims of molestation by a once-renowned sports physician Larry Nassar—that is not slowing her down. The University of the People, where Simone began receiving her college education tuition-free, is launching a scholarship in her name to help foster kids and others with barriers to success. Recently, she verbally committed to studying at UCLA. And, when the season hits later this year, she plans on competing and owning yet again.
No matter how you slice it, Simone Biles is historic—or, in her own words: "I'm not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps. I'm the first Simone Biles." Own it, girl.
This post is part of YOUmedia's recognition of #BlackHistoryMonth. Come back for more throughout the month.