Simone Biles has been in the sport of gymnastics since the age of six and now at the age of 22 and height of 4 feet 8 inches, she is being considered the Greatest of All Time. Does Biles deserve this title? What makes her the GOAT? This article will discuss these questions as to why people are calling her the #GOAT and if she deserves the title.
Simone Biles began her elite career in July of 2011 as a junior. Elite is the highest level of competition in gymnastics. Biles then entered her senior elite career in 2013 which started her on the road to the 2016 Olympics. Leading up to the Rio Olympics, Biles won three consecutive all-around World titles (2013-2015). After making the 2016 US Olympic team and competing in Rio, Biles tied the Olympic record for the number of gold medals of a female gymnast in a single Games. In Rio, Biles was reaching records, but she was not setting them. Therefore, how is it now that Biles is considered the GOAT?
Discussion of Biles as the world’s best gymnast started leading up to the 2016 Olympics. The New York Times did a video about Simone featuring Nastia Liukin, 2008 Olympic All-Around gold medalist, and Biles’ coach, Aimee Boorman. Boorman noted that Biles has action-packed tumbling passes due to her ability pick up speed in a shorter distance. This allows her more space on the 12 by 12 meter floor for tumbling. The New York Times noted that at her peak while tumbling, Biles reaches over twice her height in the air. In addition, most gymnasts can take years to learn new skills, but Boorman notes that Biles can pick up new skills in no more than 3 days, allowing her plenty of time to perfect the skills. Liukin added that normally the separation between first and second place in gymnastics is as close as three or five tenths of a point, but Biles easily wins by one or two points.
The previous discussion took place three years ago, and now the topic of debate has resurfaced. This time it is not just debating if she is the best in the world, but if Simone Biles is the greatest of all time. Since the 2016 Olympics, Biles has continued to compete in a league of her own. As calculated by using the results on USA Gymnastics’ website, Biles has consistently won the All-Around title by over a point, which Nastia Liukin noted is incredibly rare in the sport of #gymnastics.
- 2016 Olympic All-Around – 2.1 points
- 2018 US Classic – 1.2 points
- 2018 National Championship – 6.55 points
- 2018 World Championships – 1.693 points
- 2019 Stuttgart World Cup – 3.668 points
- 2019 US Classic – 2.1 points
- 2019 US Championships – 4.95 points
- 2019 World Championships – 2.1 points
At the 2019 US Championships Biles continued to shock the world by unveiling two new skills for the code of points for gymnastics. As stated by NBC, Biles already has two skills named after her: a double layout half with a blind landing on floor and a Yurchenko half on with two twists vault. As the analysts were discussing Biles and her title as GOAT, – which was heightened by Biles wearing a leotard to US Championship training in August with her last name and a picture of a goat – Tim Daggett, a NBC gymnastic analyst, stated “if people want to debate that, they don’t know enough about history and they don’t know just how amazing this young woman is.” At the 2019 US Championships Biles competed two completely new skills for the first time in any women’s competition. The first one was a double dismount off the balance beam and the second was a triple-double opening pass on floor which includes two flips with three twists. These skills were officially added to the code of points when Biles successfully competed these two skills at the 2019 World Championship that took place the beginning of October in Stuttgart, Germany. The complexity and difficulty of these skills have been commented on by numerous sports analysts. Many say that the floor pass has been done in men’s gymnastics but is not competed often. Nastia Liukin, an Olympic gold medalist and NBC gymnastics analyst, summarizes this well. At the US Championships she said “a few years ago I feel like if someone would have told me that anybody would be doing this skill even in training on a hard floor, I would have not believed them, but if anybody can do it obviously it’s Simone Biles.” Liukin knows firsthand how difficult these skills are, having competed on the same stage as Biles, therefore her making this statement really speaks to the difficulty and talent it takes to perform at the level of Simone Biles.
As of now, data shows that Biles is in a league of her own, but is that league the greatest of all time? I think that right now Biles on the cusp of achieving this title without a doubt. With her performance at The World Championships – securing an all-time record of the most world medals – Biles is now widely accepted as the GOAT of gymnastics. The previous record of 23 world medals was set by Vitaly Scherbo in the 1990s was surpassed by Biles who now has 25 world medals. Biles performance at the Olympic Games in #Tokyo2020 will further solidify this title for Biles.
About the Author
Melanie Hancock is a senior at Samford University majoring in History and minoring in General Business and Marketing. She is hoping to pursue a career in museum work.