Simone Biles is competing in her second Olympics at the 2021 Tokyo Games and has already established herself as the greatest gymnast of all time.
However, it wasn’t always easy for her. During the 2013 season, she was unsure of how far she could get in the sport.
Biles had competed with the U.S. junior national team in 2011 and 2012 but got the call up to the top in 2013. After a couple of solid performances at the 2013 American Cup and the City of Jesolo Trophy in Italy, she endured a rough U.S. Classic, falling a couple of times and bowing out of the vault after twisting her ankle on the floor.
Biles then made a move to see a sports psychologist to help her deal with some of the mental pressures of performing in competition.
“She was competing against these girls who were her heroes, her idols,” her adoptive mother Nellie Biles explained to Glamour in 2016. “And it was hard for her to adjust to that. Simone didn’t think she was good enough to compete with them. I knew she was quite capable. But she needed to believe it.”
After that, it all started to click. Biles took home her first all-around title at the 2013 World Championships in Antwerp. From there, she would go on a dominant run. She hasn’t lost an all-around competition since 2013 and has piled up a career full of accolades and success even despite a post-Olympics hiatus from competition in 2017.
Medals; Olympic wins; Records; Eponymous moves; Biles has it all. The 24-year-old will look to continue her success with the U.S. women’s gymnastics team during the 2021 Olympics and continued to rack up more and more accolades.
But already, she is one of the most decorated gymnasts of all time. She will just be looking to add her legacy and rewrite the record books in Tokyo.
How many medals has Simone Biles won?
Biles has won 35 total medals during her career — 27 gold, four silver and four bronze. Of those 35 medals, she won five at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Four of those five medals were gold while one was bronze.
Here’s a full breakdown of Biles’ Olympic medals to date:
In addition to her strong performance during her lone Olympic appearance, Biles has taken home 19 goal medals at the World Gymnastics Championships. She has won gold in the all-around competition in her last five appearances in the competition. She hasn’t lost an all-around competition since 2013.
Simone Biles’ gymnastics records
Biles has posted countless records during her gymnastics career. Here are some of the most notable ones:
- Biles won the all-around title final at the 2019 World Championships by a margin of 2.1 points. That’s the highest margin of victory in a women’s all-around final ever.
- Her five medals (four gold, one bronze) at the 2016 Rio Olympics set a USA record for most medals in a single Olympics by a female gymnast.
- Biles owns the most career medals at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships with 25 medals. Here 19 gold medals and five individual all-around titles also rank as the most in competition history.
- She won five gold medals at the 2019 World Championships alone. Biles tied Larisa Latynina and Boris Shakhlin’s record with that mark.
- During her career, Biles has won a record seven U.S. Gymnastics Championships. She has won all seven titles since 2013, and the only year she didn’t win was when she sat out the competition during a hiatus in 2017.
At the 2021 Olympics, Biles will have a chance to tie or break several more records.
- Biles has four gold medals to her name already. The most gold medals an American woman has won in Olympics history is swimmer Jenny Thompson (eight) while the international women’s record belongs to former Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina (nine). Biles will be chasing those records along with swimmer Katie Ledecky (five gold medals).
- Biles could win five gold medals at the 2021 Olympic Games. If she does, that would set a record for gold medals by an American woman in a single Olympics.
- Biles could become the first woman to win back-to-back all-around titles since Czech gymnast Vera Caslavska accomplished the feat in 1964 and 1968. She would be the third woman of all time to accomplish that feat, joining Caslavska and Latynina.
Gymnastics moves named after Simone Biles
Biles has pulled off moves that no other gymnast has been able to during her career. This is largely thanks to a combination of her elite athletic ability coupled with her small 4-8 stature. As a result of her success with these moves, Biles has had several gymnastics moves named after her in gymnastics’ code of points.
One is the Biles 6.4 vault. The title of this one stems from the difficulty of the vault — rated a 6.4, which is the highest difficulty in gymnastics’ code of points.
She also created a move simply known as the Biles, which is a dismount from the balance beam that involves landing two flips on the beam going into a dismount that includes two twists.
It’s rated an H-level of difficulty. The further into the alphabet you get in gymnastics, the more difficult the skill is, so that demonstrates just how difficult it is to pull off that type of dismount.
On the floor, Biles has two moves in named after her. She landed the Biles I during the 2013 World Championships. That move includes a double layout with a half turn. It had been landed domestically by London Phillips in 2005, but it was named after Biles since she landed it in a major competition.
Finally, Biles’ most recent eponymous skill is the Biles II, which she landed in competition during the 2019 U.S. Gymnastics Championships. The skill carries a J rating and involves pulling off a triple twisting double back.
If Biles can land any of these skills at the Olympics, it will be tough for the other gymnasts in competition to compete with her.