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| caption = Portrait of William McKinley, ca. 1890-1899. McKinley was the twenty-fifth President, serving from 1897-1901. Photograph by Agência Brasil Fotografias, and licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0.
}}Simone Arianne Biles was born on March 14, 1997, in Columbus, Ohio. Biles’s parents, Ron and Nellie, adopted her and her younger sister at a young age. She grew up near Houston in Spring, Texas, with her parents and her siblings Adria, Ron II and Adam. While she considers Columbus her hometown, she currently resides in Texas. From a young age, Biles was often found bouncing and jumping around. At the age of six, she was introduced to the sport of gymnastics on a school field trip to Bannon’s Gymnastix. On this field trip, Biles began imitating the gymnasts’ moves. She came home and insisted her parents enroll her in a gymnastics class.
Biles started training under coach Aimee Boorman at Bannon’s Gymnastix. She stayed at the gym for 11 years. In 2010, at the age of 13, Biles competed at the Women’s Junior Olympic National Championships. At the competition, she won a gold in floor exercise and a bronze in vault. The next year, she broke into the elite level of competition. In 2013, Biles began breaking records. She became the first Black woman to win the all-around title at the world gymnastics championships. It was her first year competing at the world championships and her first year as a senior level competitor. At the world championships the following year, Biles won four gold medals: in women’s team competition, individual all-around, balance beam and floor exercise events. In 2015, Biles continued to break records. She won the all-around world champion title for the third year in a row. Biles was the first athlete to do so since Kim Zmeskal in 1992. Her medal wins at the 2015 World Championships brought her to a career total of 14 world championship medals. This is the most world championship medals ever earned by a U.S. gymnast, either male or female. This means Biles earned the title of most decorated World Championship American gymnast.
Although she was too young to compete in the 2012 Olympics, Biles had set herself up to be a front-runner in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. She wowed audiences in Rio. Biles took home four gold medals at the 2016 Games. This made her only the fifth female gymnast to win four gold medals at a single Olympic Games. She first led the American women’s team to gold in the team event. Then, she won gold in the individual all-around, floor and vault events. Finally, she earned a bronze medal in the balance beam event. After winning a total of 5 medals at the Olympic Games, Biles had secured her place as one of the best gymnasts in history. After the 2016 Games, Biles took a break from competing. In 2018, she announced she had been one of the victims of Dr. Larry Nassar. Nassar was a former U.S. Gymnastics doctor who abused many athletes. In 2018, Biles also began competing again. At the U.S. National Championships that year, she won gold in all 5 events. This made her the first female gymnast to win all 5 events in 25 years. Biles continued to break records. She became the most decorated American gymnast of all time at the world championships in 2019. Her medals that year brought her career total to 25 world championship medals.
Biles has not only won awards in the world of gymnastics. The American public and the media have also awarded her many honors. The Associated Press named Biles Female Athlete of the Year 2016. She also picked up a Kids’ Choice Award for Sports “Favorite Newcomer” 2016. TIME Magazine even chose Biles as one of the Most Influential People in the world. She also created a signature move. A complex flip she included in her routine during the 2013 World Championships is known as the “Biles.” Simone Biles impacted U.S. history when she became the highest winning American gymnast of all time. She is more than just the highest winning female gymnast. Biles is the most decorated gymnast, male or female, in American history. Biles is sure to continue to make an impact on the world of gymnastics. She has earned the praise of “the most talented gymnast of all-time” by her peers and Olympic legends.