Flipping Out

Spring area gymnast breaks records, motivates women across sports boundaries

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U.S. gold medalist Simone Biles performs at the 2019 Gymnastics World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.

The globe was buzzing with excitement when this four foot eight-inch gymnast stepped into the spotlight. With insane abilities and performances, many coined her as the best gymnast in the world. But even after winning the Best All-around gold medal during the 2016 Summer Olympics, she was still being compared to male athletes.

“I’m not the next Usain Bolt or Michal Phelps,” Biles said to Sporting News after her victory. “I’m the first Simone Biles.”

Young girls and women across the world took note.

“She’s such an inspiration to women everywhere, fueled by her positivity and hard work,” junior Avery Donato said.

Biles grew up in Spring, Texas after she and her sister, Adria, were adopted by their maternal grandfather. At the young age of six, she began practicing gymnastics as part of a day-care field trip. By competing in meets throughout her childhood, she was eventually selected for the World Championships team where, at 16, she became the seventh American woman and first African-American to win the World All-Around title.

“Her story is quite inspiring,” junior Abigail Vickery said. “Despite her difficult start, she turned her life around on her own terms.”

Before you can achieve, you must believe in yourself. You are more capable than you think.”

— Simone Biles, U.S. Gymnastics Gold Medalist

However, Biles is most known for her 2016 entrance into the Rio Summer Olympics. As the only Team USA gymnast to compete in all four final events, she contributed 61.833 points to America’s grand total of 184.897, beating the Russians by eight points and winning her the individual all-around gold medal. With her help, the U.S. claimed a medal in every event for the first time since 1984. Biles set the American record for the most gold medals in women’s gymnastics won at a single game.

“I had the privilege of watching Simone Biles practice at my old gym,” junior Emma Hunt said. “Her achievements continue to motivate girls – especially shorter ones – throughout the world. Those [2016 Olympics] five medals were definitely deserved.”

As of present, Biles is the most decorated American gymnast and the world’s third most decorated with a combined 30 Olympic and World Championship medals. She uses her fame and means to work with the donation-driven program Mattress Firm Foster Kids, which has given more than 610,000 items to foster kids and their families and speaks at events across the nation to inspire young children and women to follow their dreams.

“I would hope I would inspire kids everywhere to know that you can do anything you put your mind to,” Biles said in her book, Courage to Soar: A Body in Motion, A Life in Balance. “Before you can achieve, you must believe in yourself. You are more capable than you think.”