Graphic: Simon Biles with crown Hannah Anderson/The Olaf Messenger
It’s rare someone is coined the greatest of all time, it’s nearly impossible for everyone to agree with the label. Simone Biles has defied both of these odds. After the World Gymnastic Championships Oct. 1-8, 2023, Biles now has more world championship and Olympic medals of any gymnast, man or woman, ever.
Biles left the sport of gymnastics after suffering from a mental condition called the “twisties” during the 2020 Summer Olympics, which were held in 2021 due to Covid-19. Many Americans watched someone they viewed as the greatest American gymnast ever step away from the sport she seemed to be put on this planet to do. Biles boldly talked to the media during the Olympics explaining her mental health came first.
Since the Olympics, Biles has been a fierce advocate for focusing on mental health in athletics. She has been praised by many for showing that it is okay to not be okay, and important to seek help.
Biles announced her comeback over Instagram posting a video of her training new skills about a year after she left the Olympic Games. Biles reappeared in two competitions prior to the World Championships, and she has yet to make a commitment to returning to the Olympics in 2024.
At the 2023 World Championships Biles won five medals, four gold and one silver. Biles won the all-around competition, which means after competing in every event she had the highest score of the competition. Biles also medaled in the team event, beam, floor, and vault.
On vault, Biles performed a new skill for the first time in a competition, which in gymnastics means it is named after her. Biles now has five skills named after her, two on the vault, two on the floor, and one on the beam.
Biles has cemented her legacy as the greatest of all time; the competition announcers have even taken to calling her that in their commentary. More than that, Biles has shown that you can be great, and also ask for help. Biles has now revealed she told her coach she wanted to come back to competition over margaritas. A silly anecdote to represent a larger theme. Biles is here to have fun and that’s what makes her great.