In some sports, there’s room for debate about who is the greatest of all time. In others, like gymnastics, the answer is obvious: it’s Simone Biles.
Biles, who’s from the Houston suburb of Spring, just wrapped up her participation in the 2020 Olympic Games by winning a bronze medal in the balance beam. Throughout these games we have heard that she is the greatest gymnast ever. That continues to be the refrain even after an Olympics appearance that didn’t go as she’d hoped. So what is it about Biles that has made her so great for so long?
“What enabled her to do these really difficult skills is this very sound foundation, this very perfect technique,” said Dvora Meyers a freelance gymnastics journalist based in Brooklyn. “It was always the basics … like a very long back handspring, a very tight torque. You just don’t see that from other people.”
It’s hard to imagine an athletic résumé more impressive than Biles’. She’s won more medals at international competitions than any other gymnast. Four gymnastic skills are named after her. She’s one of the few gymnasts to win every event at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships. It’s the “consensus” that she is the best ever, says Meyers.
It’s unclear what will come next for Biles, though. It’s unusual for gymnasts to compete in three Olympic Games, but she’s left the door open to compete in select events at the Paris games in 2024.
“I hope that’s still in the cards,” Meyers said. “But if she decides that this is the end for her, she really can retire, you know, with no regrets. I think that’s pretty clear.”