Beyond the Bison: Simone Biles makes history at World Championships

Brittany Willwerth, Sports Co-Editor

In the realm of gymnastics, few athletes are as well known as Simone Biles, the most decorated American gymnast of all time. Born and raised primarily by her grandparents, Biles began competing in the sport at 8 years old. Quickly emerging as a powerful competitor, Biles spent the next few years acquiring experience, and with such experience came dominance.

Joining fellow teammates Laurie Hernandez, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, and Madison Kocian in the 2016 Rio Olympics, the “Final Five” flipped, balanced, and stuck their landings en route to earning the gold medal in the team competition. Biles added to this prestigious win with her own gold medals in the individual all-around and on the vault.

By the time the 2016 Olympics concluded, Biles had collected 19 Olympic and World Championship medals. After taking a year off following Rio, Biles returned to training this past November, striving to achieve the form she previously possessed. 

Building on a career full of accomplishments and accolades, this hard work paid off, as Biles recently captured titles in every event at the 2018 World Artistic Gymnastics Championship in Qatar, the first time an American gymnast has accomplished this feat in the history of the sport.

Winning this competition did not come without challenges, as the night prior to the competition Biles found herself in the emergency room, diagnosed with a kidney stone. Due to the size of the stone and doping regulations preventing pain medication from being prescribed, Biles impressively persevered through the pain.

Despite this setback, Biles overcame the field in the all-around competition, defeating Japan’s Mai Murakami by 1.693 points. This endeavor proved to the entire world that even when Biles is not physically at her best she is still a force to be reckoned with.

“I think there’s a lot to be proud of, but I’m most proud of that I’m here, I made all the event finals, medaled in all of the events and I survived,” Biles said.

Recently, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has moved to revoke USA Gymnastics’ status as the sport’s national governing body, largely in part due to the handling of the Larry Nassar scandal. With the threat of decertification, many in the sport are nervous, yet still optimistic for the future.

After Biles revealed in January that she too had been victimized by Nassar, the USOC decision came as a sort of justified victory for those affected by Nassar’s despicable actions.

For now, regardless of the organization’s decisions and retributions, the world will continue to follow American gymnastics and the performance of Biles.

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