Simone Biles was the glitterbomb of glory on Thursday night at the Olympics in Rio. Shooting through the air like a lazerbeam in the night..So right and so bright , reminding us what possible look and feels like. The strongest and fastest gymnast ever. Simply the best.
What is ‘The Biles”
Biles flips and spins on the four-inch-wide balance beam as if she were on a pavement. On the vault, she does the Amanar – one of the hardest moves performed by women – and no-one can match her height, execution and consistency.
But it is on the floor where she truly astonishes, dazzling spectators with ‘The Biles’ – her signature move – which is incorporated into the hardest floor routine in history.
Almost as exhausting to describe as it is to perform, it is a double backward somersault with the body fully extended, followed by a half-twist and a blind landing. At the peak of the move, she clears nearly twice her height, the equivalent of tumbling over a football goalpost.
Until Biles did so in 2013, no-one had ever tried the move in competition.
“I love it,” says Beth Tweddle, the British London 2012 uneven bars bronze medallist. “She’s got that personality, she really showcases gymnastics.”
Just give Simone Biles the Gold Medal’ was a recent headline in The Wall Street Journal as the American newspaper described her as the “heaviest favourite in the entire Olympics” for all-around gold.
There was logic behind the bombast – and they were proved right as she sparkled on the grandest stage on Thursday to become only the second woman in history to hold both the world and Olympic all-around titles.
Biles performs routines which are so much more difficult than her rivals that others would have to be near flawless and hope for Biles to falter badly to have a chance of catching her. That has yet to happen in Rio.
This special talent – called “a once-in-a-thousand-year athlete” by William Sands, a former research director for USA Gymnastics – is capable of more.
Training videos show Biles pulling off gravity-defying tricks on a different level to what is seen from her in competition. “She’s obviously competing at a level below what she’s training,” says Tweddle. “She makes it look very easy.”
Former 200m and 400m Olympic champion Michael Johnson once said Usain Bolt could run quicker were he to strengthen his core muscles. The Jamaican hasn’t heeded Johnson’s advice because he doesn’t have to – he is already the fastest man in history.
The same applies to Biles – why attempt trickier routines in public when she is already better than the rest by some distance?