Simone Biles has already proven herself to be a world-class gymnast. Although she loves competing in the sport, People reports that Biles is less fond of the beauty standards and body expectations that surround it. On Wednesday, in an Instagram post, the four-time Olympic gold medalist called out the scrutiny that she gets about her looks.
“In gymnastics, as in many other professions, there is a growing competition that has nothing to do with performance itself. I’m talking about beauty. I don’t know why but others feel as though they can define your own beauty based on their standards,” Biles wrote.
Biles, who is also a five-time world champion and hopes to compete in the 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo, said that she usually tries to ignore criticisms of her looks. Now, though, the gymnast is admitting that the criticism does get to her. Biles shared the post as part of skincare brand SK-II’s #NOCOMPETITION campaign. The gymnast says she’s done with turning everything in her life into a competition.
“I am standing up for myself and for everyone that has gone through the same. Today, I say I am done competing vs. beauty standards and the toxic culture of trolling when others feel as though their expectations are not met…because nobody should tell you or I what beauty should or should not look like,” she wrote.
This is not the first time that Biles has discussed her issues around body image. In 2018, she said that as a child she was often bullied for her muscular arms, People reports. Biles said she often wore sweaters or jackets all year long just to cover her arms. Biles also said that her teammate, Aly Raisman, had helped her work through a lot of those lingering issues.
At the 2016 Olympic games in Rio De Janeiro, Biles won four gold medals, including one for her overall performance and one for her contributions to Team USA. According to The New York Times, she’s also the most decorated World Championship medalist in the history of gymnastics. Biles has 25 medals in total from world championships, and 19 of those medals are gold.
The NYT reported that Biles’s record-breaking performance only strengthened the case for those who believe that she’s the greatest gymnast of all-time. Biles’ immense talents will be put to the test once again as she attempts to qualify for the 2020 Olympics. Should she make the team, she’ll be looking to top the exemplary performance she had in 2016.