I’ve been a mega-fan of Simone Biles long before she was dubbed “the GOAT” of gymnastics. Honestly, what’s not to love? She’s a four-time Olympic gold medalist and five-time world all-around champ. She’s not just doing backflips — she has several (incredibly difficult) moves literally named after her. She was the first Black female all-around world champion, and is the most decorated gymnast of all time. She’s also a fearless advocate, having spoken out about sexual abuse, body shaming, and recently, the “toxic culture of trolling.”
“She is, without question, the most dominant gymnast in the history of the sport,” Bart Conner, Olympic gold medalist and gymnastics analyst, told ESPN. “She’s doing the most difficult gymnastics ever attempted, and she does it effortlessly. She’s the perfect gymnast for the perfect time.”
In honor of Black History Month, I rounded up clips of Biles’s greatest hits; the moments that she made sports history with her gravity-defying moves and unshakable resolve. Watch these on repeat whenever you need a little dose of awe.
Biles took home four medals from the 2013 World Championships — including her first all-around title, according to the Olympic Channel. It’s hard to believe, but at the time she was still basically a newbie with a lot to prove.
Biles secured another all-around title at the 2014 World Championships, and a third from her 2015 performance, shown here. That last one secured the gymnast the distinction of being the first woman to win three consecutive world all-around titles.
During Biles’s first time at the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016, she dominated. She led her team (which included Laurie Hernandez, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, and Madison Kocian) to gold. She also won four individual gold medals, a feat that had been accomplished by only four other gymnasts before her, none of whom had been on the U.S. team.
At the time, one announcer famously said: “It’s Biles by miles.”
In 2018, after a brief break from the sport, Biles came back swinging — er, flipping. At the U.S. National Championships, she became the first woman in the U.S. to earn five national all-around titles, according to The New York Times.
In 2019, Biles became the most decorated gymnast in the history of the World Championships, winning 25 medals. She won her 24th — outpacing the previous record of 23 medals, set by Vitaly Scherbo in 1996 — with her balance beam routine. Then, after performing her floor exercise, she beat her own record.
Biles blew our collective minds when she became the first ever female gymnast to cleanly land a “triple double” at the USA Gymnastics Championships in August 2019. That same year, USA Gymnastics announced that it would name the impossible move, which involves two double backflips and three twists, the “Biles II.”
As if the triple double wasn’t enough, in the same competition Biles also made history by performing a double-double dismount on the balance beam, Refinery29 previously reported. She was the first person to attempt and land that move as well.
Oh — and did we mention she’s only 22? Never has the term GOAT been more appropriate.
Female athletes deserve to be paid what they’re worth, given the attention they’ve earned, and given space on and off the mat to shine. @Onherturf is here to celebrate them, inspiring the next generation of badass women. Follow us here to join the movement.
Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?