SPORTS

Simone Biles Isn't The Next Anyone, She's 'The First Simone Biles'

The gymnast is in a league of her own.
Simone Biles signals to the crowd after winning the gold medal in the women's individual all around final on Thursday.
Simone Biles signals to the crowd after winning the gold medal in the women's individual all around final on Thursday.

The breakout star of the U.S. gymnastics team shrugged off comparisons to other Olympic legends after winning the gold medal in the women’s individual all-around on Thursday.

Simone Biles, who at age 19 has been called the best gymnast of all time, won the event in Rio de Janeiro by a massive margin spanning more than two points, ahead of fellow American Aly Raisman.

Perhaps in reference to a slew of sexist commentary at the 2016 Summer Olympics, Biles succinctly noted her legendary feats were an accomplishment all her own and in no way comparable to those of celebrated male athletes.

“I’m not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps,” she told Sporting News after accepting her second gold medal. “I’m the first Simone Biles.”

Her performance on Thursday began with an uncharacteristically shaky start that left her trailing Russian Aliya Mustafina after the vault and bars. But by the end of the third event, the beam rotation, Biles held a commanding lead of more than 1.5 points. She sealed it with an impressive floor routine.

Biles’ celebratory comments come on the heels of several high-profile sexist headlines to emerge in Brazil. An NBC commentator this week compared one of the three-time world champion’s uneven bars routines to that of a man’s.

Other women’s accomplishments have been linked to their husbands and coaches, or celebrated because of their age or recent pregnancies.

While Biles has already made Olympic history, there are still a lot of medals to be won. The gymnast is still favored to take home a few more golds in three individual events later this week. Viewers can expect to see absurd levels of difficulty and routines packed with skill-after-skill many of her peers won’t even attempt in competition.

As her teammate Raisman said, “Simone’s just in her own league. Whoever gets second place, that’s the winner.”

HuffPost

BEFORE YOU GO

PHOTO GALLERY
Photos Show Olympics Fans Are The Best Fans
CONVERSATIONS