Simone Biles had a lot riding on her entering Thursday’s individual all-around competition. Fortunately, though, the 19-year-old lived up to expectations. Simone entered her fourth and final rotation with an impressive lead, but in true Biles’ fashion, the 4’8″ gymnast wanted to go out with a bang. And she did just that — Biles received her highest score of the night with a whopping 15.933 on the floor.
After the competition, Biles told reporters, “Every emotion hit me at once so I was just kind of a train wreck. Everything was going through my head but mainly it was like I had finally done it and when that hits you, you can’t really stop the emotions.” Biles is a three-time world champion and four-time US all-around champion and has performed exceptionally well in Rio thus far. Her impressive floor routine at Tuesday’s team final helped the US close with an almost 9 point lead over the 2nd place team, Russia.
Biles was born on March 14, 1997, making her 19-years-old today. The Ohio native spent her childhood jumping between foster homes because her mother, Shanon, was unable to care for Simone and her siblings. Fortunately, Simone’s biological grandparents adopted her and her sister, Adria, when Simone was six. Her older siblings were adopted by her grandfather, Ron’s, sister.
Biles’ floor difficulty is unparalleled. Her second pass, a double layout with a half-twist, has come to be known as ‘The Biles’. It became part of the International Federation of Gymnastics’ Code of Points in 2013, which is when she competed it for the first time in history. According to the New York Times, Biles first tried the move after tearing her calf muscle on a full twist. Aimee Boorman, her coach, suggested that a half-turn may be easier on her legs– she was right. For her third pass, Simone competes a double-twisting double back, which she very-nearly stuck in Thursday’s finals.
Simone’s final score after all four events in Thursday’s individual finals was a 62.198. Whereas the difference between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place is usually mere tenths or hundredths of a point, Simone won gold by over 2 points. Her teammate, Aly Raisman, placed 2nd, with a 60.098.
Simone has proved herself unbeatable in the world of gymnastics. After Thursday’s competition, CNN wrote, “Biles, competing at her first Olympic Games, made a mockery of those who doubted her ability to cope with the occasion and added pressure of being the outstanding favorite.” Even before she won the individual all-arounds, Biles had achieved another spectacular success- she became the first woman in 20 years to win back-to-back world and Olympic all-around titles.