It's official, Simone Biles is headed to Rio. While it seemed like a sure thing, it wasn't until after her all-around win at the Olympic Trials this weekend that she was granted her spot on the team. So who is this badass, all-American athlete, and why can’t everyone stop talking about her? Consider this your complete CliffsNotes guide to why Simone Biles is the athlete to watch during the Summer Games.
A little bit of background first — and something else you may have picked up on Facebook in the past few weeks — the 2016 Summer Olympics are right around the corner. This year, they’ll be hosted in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from Aug. 5 – 21, which is why the upcoming games have been dubbed Rio 2016.
As you might expect from the Summer Olympics, there’s plenty of fun for everyone, no matter what sport you may be interested in. But this year we’re calling it a '90s throwback, because gymnastics is hot again, and we have the rising star Simone Biles to thank. Here’s everything you need to know about this dynamic new athlete before the games begin.
That is to say that, despite her talent and success, Biles is still very young. She just turned 19 and already has an unbelievable gymnastics résumé — like being the three-time World all-around champion, four-time U.S. National all-around champion, three-time World floor champion and two-time World balance beam champion, all before the age of 21.
As if winning 14 World medals — 10 gold, two silver and two bronze — wasn’t epic enough, this accomplishment alone has broken records. Biles has won the most world medals in U.S. history.
Biles has more than enough medals to adorn her mantel, but this may be her most important feat of all. Today, as one of the most decorated female gymnasts in history, Biles is also the first black American to win the title of World all-around champion.
If you tune in to watch Biles compete in one summer event, let it be this — her vault, with its precision and height, is truly unbelievable. Because of this, the pros are comparing her to another record-breaking vaulter, the 2013 World champion McKayla Maroney.
While most professional gymnasts are known to be pint-size, Biles may be even smaller. At 4 feet 9 inches, Biles comes in under the estimated average height of most female championship gymnasts of roughly 5 feet 1 inch tall.
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