Flipping to fame

Olympic Legend Simone Biles 

By Savanah Tillberg, Staff Writer

“I suck at walking.” Not something one might expect to hear from an Olympic athlete during an interview on The Ellen Show, however this statement is a testimony to the humble personality of Simone Biles. Just barely 20 years old, the young athletic protégé has taken the world of artistic gymnastics by storm.

Despite her current success, Biles had a start to life that was less than ideal; she and her three siblings were in and out of foster care due to their mother’s struggle with drug and alcohol abuse. At age three, her grandfather and his wife, Nellie, took Simone and her younger sister, Adria, in and in 2003 the couple formally adopted both girls.

Biles’ discovered gymnastics accidentally following a school field trip to a gymnastics club. During the trip, coach Aimee Boorman of Bannon’s Gymnastix Inc. noticed her natural ability and sent her home with a letter asking her to join their club. Her adoptive mother then enrolled her in a tumbling class and from there she flourished. “She’s always been a little spring,” said her mother Nellie in an interview with ABC Nightline.

Her career as an elite gymnast began in 2011 when she competed at the American Classic in Houston, Texas, where she placed third all-around. In 2012, Biles transitioned from public school to homeschool in order to increase her training availability and pursue her Olympic dream. Biles competed in the American Classic once again in 2012 where she placed first all-around and the world began to take notice of her ability. In 2013 she entered her Senior Elite career and became the fist female African-American athlete to win gold in the all-around at the P&G Championships. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter following the competition, she explained that she hopes her achievements can inspire young athletes to rise above and conquer their challenges.

In the summer of 2014 she verbally committed to UCLA through her twitter account but planned to postpone her enrollment until after the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Almost one year later, Biles announced she would turn professional and forfeit her NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) eligibility.

Biles made Olympic history after Rio by setting the record for most gold medals won in a single games. Combined, her 14 World Champion medals, four gold and single bronze Olympic medals make her the most decorated American gymnast in history. Biles’ impressive tumbling abilities enabled her to create her own move “The Biles”, where she performs a double layout half out. The young gymnast said to The Hollywood Reporter, “I think [my achievements] inspire a lot of the little girls out there to go in the gym and train harder.”

Despite her self-proclaimed clumsy tendencies, currently, Biles is referred to, by internationally renowned coaches including Béla Károlyi, as the best gymnast in the world.