Simone Biles is probably the most famous gymnast in the world at this point. And now, to add to her collection of gold medals is ESPN’s Most Dominant Athlete of 2018 award. This comes after winning five individual medals at the FIG Artistic Gymnastic Championships in Doha, Qatar, not to mention leading the U.S. women’s team to a world title.
Biles grew up in foster care with all the challenges a childhood in the system brings. But her determination saw her through. She’s the toughest gymnast out there and maybe the toughest athlete period. When asked about injuries and needing to recover after a difficult routine she scoffs. You won’t catch her with an icepack on her shoulder in between routines.
Biles In 2018
The last major competition that most Americans remember Biles in was the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. And in fact, she didn’t return to professional competition until July of this year.
In July, Biles went to Columbus, Ohio, for the GK U.S. Classic. She made some mistakes, such as a step out of bounds during her floor routine, that are to be expected after such a long time off. But she also left the competition with three gold medals.
In August, Biles was in Boston for the U.S. Gymnastics Championships. There she had the performance of a lifetime, winning all five possible medals. Her performance drew in the most TV viewers for gymnastics since 2007 (not including the Olympics). She also bested herself by beating all her previous scores in title performances with 119.850.
Biles has been training most of her life to be the best gymnast in the world. She started at the age of six and at 15 was competing for the U.S. She’s accomplished amazing feats in her sport in her short career. Biles is the first woman to win four world all-around titles. She’s also the first to win five national all-around titles. Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that two moves have been officially named after Biles in the Code of Points.
And to top it all, Biles is as humble and gracious as any great winner. She’s just the person that USA gymnastics wants as its spokesperson. And as the most dominant in her sport, she’s had to take on this role even at times she would rather have been quiet.
USA gymnastics has publicly suffered ever since Larry Nassar was found to be a sexual predator. While incomparable to the suffering of his victims, the damage done to USA gymnastics by Nassar isn’t good for the sport. The gymnastics world has looked to Biles in its time of need to be a leader and to carry gymnastics on.
Biles rightly states that this is an unfair burden to put on her. She happens to be the best at what she does but to ask her to be the face of the sport and to keep gymnastics alive while the country is horrified by the actions of Nassar, is too much. Biles has been a support and a voice for all the victims though. She’s an amazing person in and out of her sport. The Most Dominant Athlete Of 2018 is perhaps a title that doesn’t go far enough.