Even if you haven’t been paying attention to the 2016 Rio Olympics this year, chances are you’ve heard the name Simone Biles — probably among words like “best” and “wins gold.” After earning herself three straight gold medals in a row, Simone Biles shocked fans on Monday by slipping on the balance beam and settling for an uncharacteristic bronze medal. But this Tuesday, in her final event at the Rio Olympics, Biles found redemption and made history by earning her fourth gold.
According to the Huffington Post, Simone Biles is the first United States gymnast to win four Olympic gold medals, and the first gymnast to do so within this generation. Every other gymnast to win four golds did so many years ago, such as Ecaterina Szabo from Romania who got gold four times in 1984. The criteria of judges at past Olympics were much different than they are today, and the degree of difficulty in Simone Biles’ routines are many times higher than those of the gymnasts who won four golds before her. Much of the sport is subjective of course, but it’s easy to see why many are calling Simone Biles the best gymnast of all time, and certainly the best the United States has ever seen. What’s more, Biles has joined her fellow Simone (gold-medal-winning swimmer Simone Manuel) in paving the way for young African-American female athletes by showing them the kind of greatness that is possible for coming generations.
Though many Americans were hopeful that Simone would sweep all five of her events and win gold each time, a disappointing routine dropped her down below American teammate Laurie Hernandez, who won silver. But unlike many Olympic athletes who have to wait four years to return and prove once again they’re worthy of gold, Simone Biles found near instant redemption by rounding out her Rio Olympics with a floor routine that wowed the judges.
She took gold with a hefty score of 15.966, a fair bit ahead of her team captain and close friend Aly Raisman who earned silver with a score of 15.5. Great Britain’s Amy Tinkler picked up the bronze. It wasn’t the first time the world had been blown away by Simone Biles’ floor routine, having had a taste of her gravity-defying talent in the all-around competition, which also saw Simone snagging the highest score and Raisman following with silver. While clips of the routine that got her a fourth gold are not available online yet, you can see snippets of her spirited moves in the videos below showing past runs of the routine.
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) August 12, 2016
— Theresa M.O. Dennard (@abenamirekua) August 8, 2016
According to Time Magazine, Simone Biles was relieved and satisfied with the conclusion to her 2016 Olympic games. Of course, the United States’ team would have been thrilled to have their star gymnast break a record with five golds, but the important thing to Biles seemed to be ending the games on a positive note.
“I think we put the cherry on top with Aly and me finishing on floor as well as we did,” Simone Biles said. “There is some sense of relief. But I am sad at how fast this whole thing went. I’m excited it’s over but kind of sad too.”
Her teammate Aly Raisman is a veteran gymnast with twice the Olympic experience as Simone, but she admits that Biles performs at a higher level than most of the gymnasts who have ever attempted the sport.
“She’s just in another level. It’s amazing; it’s hard to put into words. I can’t believe she has four gold medals. I’m in awe of watching her and I’ve trained with her for so long. Laurie said before floor today, if you get silver you’re the best because Simone doesn’t count.”
Simone Biles and Aly Raisman. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Did you see Simone Biles earn her fourth gold? Do you think we’ll be seeing more of her in Olympics to come? Leave a comment below with your thoughts!
[Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images]