It’s official. Gymnast Simone Biles is heading to Rio 2016 where her remarkable athleticism and crowd-pumping routines are poised to make her the breakout star of the Olympic games.
The 19-year-old, who will compete alongside 2012 Olympic champions Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas, has been lauded for her technical prowess, which is virtually unmatched in the sport.
Her moves on the vault are nearly perfect (paywall). She has won 14 world championship medals, including 10 golds, since making her senior debut in 2013, which is more than any US athlete in history, according to the US Olympic Committee. Retired Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton told espnW that Biles is “the best I’ve ever seen.”
“Just when we thought we were at the physical limit of the sport, then here comes Simone Biles,” Retton said Saturday (July 9) at the US Olympic gymnastics team trials.
It’s Biles’ virtuoso routines, which fuse fun, pulse-quickening rhythms with stunning tumbles and a touch of sass that make her a fan favorite. The Spring, Texas native adds her own flair to each routine, especially floor exercises. During the weekend trials, she shook it to a latin beat, while getting big air with her signature move—a double layout with a half turn called “The Biles”—in a routine that earned the best floor-exercise score of the night.
Here she is, tumbling again, at the 2015 AT&T American Cup.
Off the mat, Biles is even more enchanting. She has spoken out against body shaming, saying that she embraces her “stockier” athletic build. She’s an unabashed Justin Bieber fan. And she’s very active on social media, where she shares inspirational messages, supports her teammates, and posts silly videos of her and her friends going to concerts, eating out, and celebrating like any teenager who’s going to the Olympics would.
Rock on, Simone. You deserve it.