Black History Month Spotlight: Simone Biles

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When celebrating Black History Month, you don’t always have to look back at figures in history, but can honor the ones currently making it. Perhaps the best example of this, gymnast Simone Biles has cemented herself in the history books as one of the best athletes of all time. This week’s spotlight highlights the woman who has raised the bar for all other Olympians to follow.

 

Born on March 14, 1997, Simone Biles- like many great extraordinaires – comes from humble beginnings. The third of her four siblings, Biles’s mother’s struggle with substance addiction led Biles and her sisters to be in and out of foster care. She would eventually be adopted by her grandparents Ron and Nellie Biles, with Biles referring to her grandmother as “mom.” 

 

Biles would be introduced to her passion early in life when she went with her day care group to a gymnastics center. According to the official USA Gymnastics website, Biles was a natural talent, stating “While there, I imitated other gymnasts, and Coach Ronnie noticed. The gym sent home a letter requesting that I join tumbling or gymnastics.”

 

From there, Simone Biles would continue to excel in her sport and in spirit. In the 2016 Rio Olympics alone, Biles would win five gold medals in floor events, vault, team and in all-around. Additionally, she became the first American to win gold on the balance team and achieved a historic 2.1 margin of victory over Raisman, the highest lead ever in Olympic gymnastics. 

 

However Biles would prove that her voice is just as strong as her body during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. After pulling out of the latest summer olympics, Biles cited mental health struggles as her reason for withdrawing. Not only did she model the importance of advocating for your mental health, Biles proved that even the best athletes have off days. And that is completely okay.

 

Under the definition of icon a picture of Simone Biles can be seen. She has set records, won five Olympic gold medals, 19 world championships and even has had moves named after her. But more than that, Simone Biles has inspired millions of people around the world who can seem themselves represented in her, an accomplishment better than any title or medal.