Simone Biles is the most dominant athlete on the planet, and now she's primed to become the most accomplished Olympian of all time

Business Insider Sports 1 month ago
  • Simone Biles put on a record-breaking clinic at the gymnastics world championships where she won five gold medals and set the record for most world medals for any gymnast, male or female.
  • The 22-year-old won each of her individual events by more than a 0.5-point margin.
  • No athlete — regardless of gender — has ever commanded the throne of any sport in nearly as dominant a fashion as Biles, and the summer Olympics in Tokyo will undoubtedly serve as her victory lap.
  • The gymnastics virtuoso already announced her intention to retire after the upcoming games.
  • Even though she'll walk away with fewer medals and a shorter reign than Olympic legends like Michael Phelps or Usain Bolt, Biles will almost certainly have the most impressive international career.
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Sports fans haven't seen an athlete like Simone Biles so wholly dominate their competition since Michael Phelps closed out his Olympic reign in 2016.

Biles won't have a chance to surpass the king of medals to become the most decorated Olympian of all time. However, it's clear that her many accomplishments are both unprecedented and even more magnificent than those of history's most lauded athletes.

As if anyone needed a reminder of the 22-year-old's brilliance, Biles put on a record-breaking clinic at the gymnastics world championships in Stuttgart, Germany, this past week.

She came home with a whopping five gold medals to raise her overall world medals count to 25 — the most of any gymnast, male or female, in the history of the sport. With her definitive gold-medal performance on the balance beam Sunday, Biles broke the record of 23 total medals at worlds, which Vitaly Scherbo of the Soviet Union and Belarus set a year before the wunderkind was born.

Though Biles is consistently the heavy favorite regardless of the event she's competing in, her victory on the beam was far from a guarantee. The Columbus, Ohio, native took home the gold in 2014 and 2015, but her recent history has been mixed. She lost her balance and settled for bronze medals in the event at both the 2016 Rio Olympics and 2018 world championships.

So when she did secure the victory, Biles allowed herself a moment of jubilation and jumped out of her seat to celebrate.

Later, she secured a widely-expected victory in the floor exercise to break the record again.

In addition to her first-place finishes in the floor exercise and on balance beam, Biles took home gold medals in the all-around, vault, and team competitions, increasing her gold medal count to a whopping 19.

But if the sheer volume of victories Biles has amassed is impressive, then the fashion in which she's attained them can only be described as staggering. She unquestionably left her competition in the dust in every single event. Biles secured gold by more than half of a point in both vault and balance beam before earning a full point more than the next-highest scorer in the floor exercise. And in the all-around event, Biles was truly competing in a league of her own, racking up an impressive 2.1 points more than silver medalist Tang Xijing of China.

In a sport that is more often decided by tenths or hundredths of a point, as The New Yorker's Eren Orbey points out, Biles comparably astronomical margins of victory would have been unfathomable before she first joined the US women's national team in 2013.

"This is really the best worlds performance I have ever put out," Biles said on Sunday, according to the New York Times.

Biles' next appearance on the international stage will come in Tokyo next summer, where she'll more than likely put on jaw-dropping performance after jaw-dropping performance as she did in 2016. In Rio, Biles took the top prize in team, all-around, vault, and floor and tacked on the bronze in balance beam for good measure.

This time around, it appears she's entering the Olympic games, having cemented her dominance even further. In addition to regaining her confidence on the beam, Biles has continued to push herself in other areas of competition. Biles consistently nails skills so technically difficult and beyond the abilities of her competitors — or any gymnast ever, for that matter — that they've been named in her honor.

And because gymnastics scoring rewards athletes for the difficulty of their planned routines and subtracts points for any deviation from the perfect performance, Biles is almost always afforded a heretofore unprecedented amount of leeway. At worlds last year, she famously competed while battling a kidney stone and, despite multiple falls and uncharacteristic errors, still came away lightyears ahead of the field.

No athlete — regardless of gender — has ever commanded the throne of any sport in nearly as dominant a fashion as Biles. She has also done so amidst sexual abuse scandals and filings for bankruptcy that have amounted to the most tumultuous period in USA gymnastics' history.

The summer Olympics in Tokyo will serve as her victory lap. The gymnastics virtuoso already announced her intention to retire after the upcoming games, and it's more than likely she'll cap her career with a slew of resounding victories.

And even though she'll walk away from competition without rivaling the medal count or longevity of Olympic legends like Phelps or Usain Bolt, Biles will almost certainly have enjoyed the single most impressive international career of any athlete on the planet, past or present.


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